Resistance News for January 10, 2019

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by Max Wilbert

Deep Green Resistance

max@maxwilbert.org

https://www.deepgreenresistance.org

Current atmospheric CO2 level (daily high at Mauna Loa): 410.73 PPM

A free monthly newsletter providing analysis and commentary on ecology, global capitalism, empire, and revolution.

For back issues, to read this issue online, or to subscribe via email or RSS, visit the Resistance News web page.

These essays also appear on the DGR News Service, which also includes an active comment section.

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In this issue:

  1. Unist’oten Camp Facing Armed Invasion By Pipeline Cops
  2. Towards a Revolutionary Ecology » An Interview with Max Wilbert
  3. Impersonators Using Printer Vulnerabilities to Spam Small Businesses
  4. Support Political Prisoners This Season
  5. Prostituted Women Crucial to Economic Growth
  6. Book Review: Make Rojava Green Again, by The Internationalist Commune of Rojava
  7. Depressed and Then Diagnosed With Autism, Greta Thunberg Explains Why Hope Cannot Save Planet But Bold Climate Action Still Can
  8. How Circular is the Circular Economy?
  9. Canadian Court Gives Coastal Gaslink Permission to Violate Indigenous Rights
  10. Courage
  11. Book Excerpt: The Four Phases of Decisive Ecological Warfare
  12. Groomed to Consume
  13. Political Education for the Poor – An Advocacy for a New Political Awareness
  14. Submit your material to the Deep Green Resistance News Service
  15. Further news and recommended reading / podcasts
  16. How to support DGR or get involved

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“The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim; he or she has become a threat.”

– James Baldwin

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Unist’oten Camp Facing Armed Invasion By Pipeline Cops

[Link] On Monday, January 7th, Canadian federal police raided the Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidumt’en Territory on unceded indigenous land in what is commonly known as British Columbia, Canada.

The Access Point is the forward position of a pipeline occupation held primarily by the Unist’ot’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation. The Unist’ot’en have been occupying this part of their territory for nine years to block numerous oil and gas pipelines from destroying their territory.

On Wednesday afternoon, the RCMP lifted the roadblock and exclusion zone that had been in place since Monday morning. Several RCMP negotiators, as well as hereditary chiefs, passed through the barrier on the bridge over the Wedzin Kwah and are currently engaged in negotiations inside the healing center.

The latest reports confirm that the Unist’ot’en will comply with the injunction and allow some Coastal Gaslink employees onto the territory. It remains to be seen what form the struggle will take.

@UnistotenCamp, January 10th, 12:06am: Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs will open gate and comply with injunction. They do not want violence that happened in Gitdimt’en to repeat here. Many tears shed. Police negotiating with Clan to possibly allow gate to stay up. This is not over. #wetsuwetenstrong #unistoten

Fourteen land defenders were arrested on Monday including spokesperson Molly Wickham. She describes what happened in this video. All of the arrestees have been released as of 3pm Wednesday. You can donate to the legal support fund here.

The RCMP attack is also described in this StarMetro Vancouver article:

“After a lengthy, increasingly heated back-and-forth between the demonstrators and police, officers began cutting the barbed wire and started up a chainsaw. Camp members began to scream in protest; two young men had chained themselves to the fence below the view of the officers, encasing their arms in a kind of pipe that meant opening the gate risked breaking both of their arms… [the] checkpoint camp was abandoned behind a massive fallen tree and a barrier of flame on Monday afternoon as dozens of RCMP officers finally pushed past the barricade set up to bar entry to the traditional territories of the Wet’suwet’en people.” 

The Gidumt’en and Unist’ot’en are two of five clans that make up the Wet’suwet’en Nation. The traditional leadership of all five clans oppose the pipeline. However, the elected band council (a colonial leadership structure set up by the Canadian state) voted in favor of the pipeline.

More than 60 solidarity events took place across Canada and the world this week. Using the hashtag #ShutdownCanada, blockades have stopped major intersections, financial districts, bridges, and ports in Vancouver, Ottowa, Toronto, Victoria, Montreal, and elsewhere.

This situation has a long background and highly significant legal significance. Kai Nagata describes the situation:

Many Canadians have heard of the 1997 Delgamuukw decision by the Supreme Court of Canada, which recognized that Aboriginal title still exists in places where Indigenous nations have never signed a treaty with the Crown. In fact, the court was talking about the land where tonight’s raid is taking place. 

Delgamuukw is a chief’s name in the neighbouring Gitxsan Nation, passed down through the generations. Delgamuukw was one of dozens of plaintiffs in the case, comprising hereditary chiefs from both the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en Nations.

Together those leaders achieved an extraordinary milestone in forcing the Canadian courts to affirm the legitimacy of their oral histories, traditional laws and continuing governance of their lands. But it wasn’t until the Tsilhqot’in decision in 2014 that the Supreme Court went a step further, recognizing Aboriginal title over a specific piece of land.

If the Wet’suwet’en chiefs went back to court all these years later, many legal scholars say the strength of their claim to their territories would eventually force the Canadian government to relinquish thousands of square kilometres within the Bulkley and Skeena watersheds – and stop calling it “Crown land”.

That’s why the TransCanada pipeline company acted quickly, to secure an injunction against Wet’suwet’en members blocking construction before the legal ground could shift under their Coastal Gaslink project.

The 670-kilometre pipeline project would link the fracking fields of Northeastern B.C. with a huge liquid gas export terminal proposed for Kitimat. Called LNG Canada, this project is made up of oil and gas companies from China, Japan, Korea and Malaysia, along with Royal Dutch Shell.

The BC Liberal, BC NDP and federal governments all courted the LNG Canada project, offering tax breaks, cheap electricity, tariff exemptions and other incentives to convince the consortium to build in B.C. Both Christy Clark and Premier John Horgan celebrated LNG Canada’s final investment decision last fall, calling it a big win for the province.

However, without a four foot diameter (122cm) pipeline feeding fracked gas to the marine terminal, the LNG Canada project is a non-starter.

That brings us back to the Morice River, or Wedzin Kwa in the Wet’suwet’en language. This is where the rubber hits the road for “reconciliation”. Politicians are fond of using the word, but seemingly uncomfortable with its implications.

Politicians also talk a lot about the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and how to enshrine it in B.C. law. Article 10 of UNDRIP states that “Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories.” It is hard to see how tonight’s arrests are consistent with this basic right.

Pro-pipeline pundits are already working hard to spin this raid as the “rule of law” being asserted over the objections of “protestors”. They point to benefit agreements signed between TransCanada and many band governments along the pipeline route.

But under the Indian Act, elected councillors only have jurisdiction over reserve lands – the tiny parcels set aside for First Nations communities that are administered much like municipalities. That’s not where this pipeline would go.

What is at stake in the larger battle over Indigenous rights and title are the vast territories claimed by the Crown but never paid for, conquered or acquired by treaty. In Wet’suwet’en territory, those lands, lakes and rivers are stewarded by the hereditary chiefs under a governance system that predates the founding of Canada.

Update on Unist’ot’en Camp (Thursday AM)

[Link] Today the Coastal Gaslink company will be negotiating with the Wet’suwet’en traditional leadership. They may potentially allow workers past the barrier at Unist’ot’en Camp to conduct “pre-construction” activities.

However, the compliance with the temporary injunction is not a surrender on the part of the Wet’suwet’en. It was a tactical maneuver to gain advantage in the short term and prevent physical harm to members of the nation. The camp stands and the nation has no intention of allowing the pipeline to be built.

They aim to continue the fight. A legal battle may be brewing that could end up in the Canadian Supreme Court. It is possible physical confrontations will continue in the future as well. The Unist’ot’en have already defeated 6 of the 7 proposed pipelines across their land and do not mean to let this final pipeline be built.

From the Unist’ot’en Camp website:

WAYS TO SUPPORT:

We are are humbled by the outpouring of solidarity and support for our Wet’suwet’en people. We expect RCMP aggression at any time. We are still fundraising for our legal battle in the colonial courts. Please donate.

– DONATE to Unist’ot’en Camp Legal Fund

– DONATE to Gidimt’en Access Point

– COME TO CAMP: Supporters in the local area wanting to do something should head to KM 27 now. Meet at the junction of Morice River Road and Morice West where people are gathering to plan additional responses to this incursion.

– HOST A SOLIDARITY EVENT: See the International Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en event page. We are conducting peaceful actions as sovereign peoples on our territories, and ask that all actions taken in solidarity are conducted peacefully and according to the traditional laws of other Indigenous Nations. Forcible trespass onto Wet’suwet’en territories and the removal of Indigenous peoples from their lands must be stopped. Provincial and federal governments must be confronted.

– SIGN THE PLEDGE: Join thousands of organizations and individuals in signing the pledge in support of Unist’ot’en

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Towards a Revolutionary Ecology » An Interview with Max Wilbert

[Link] An interview with a comrade from the Deep Green Resistance organization, co-author (with Lierre Keith and Derrick Jensen) of the forthcoming book, Bright Green Lies.

Nicolas Casaux: The latest fad, in the public sphere of mainstream ecology in French speaking Quebec, is this “pact for the transition.” To me it stands for much of mainstream ecology. It is a plea for shorter showers (as Derrick Jensen would call it), based on a naïve belief in the possibility for industrial civilization to become “green”, notably through “sustainable development”, and also a naïve belief in that our leaders, and the State, can and will someday save us all. What do you think?

Max Wilbert: It’s bullshit, like all the mainstream solutions.

In the 1960’s, capitalism was threatened by rising people’s movements and revolution was in the air. One of the main ways that capitalism adapted was by creating the non-profit system to absorb and defuse resistance. Environmental groups like the Sierra Club, 350.org, WWF, and The Nature Conservancy (as well as countless others) all operate with multi-million or billion dollar budgets. That funding comes from foundations; in other words, from the rich via their money laundering schemes. They channel movements towards so-called “solutions” which are really distractions. Sure, in some cases their “solutions” may partially address the issues, but they are being promoted because they are profitable.

This is why we see a massive groundswell movement pushing for “100% renewable energy.” Renewables are extremely profitable. But there is little to no evidence that they actually decrease carbon emissions. Look at overall emissions trends over the past decade. As “renewables” rise, so do overall emissions. That’s because you can’t extricate energy production from growth and the capitalist model. More energy is profitable, and feeds into the growth of the economy (along with population growth, new markets opening up, loans, and other means capitalism uses to grow).

These movements aren’t really grassroots. They’ve been created and funded by massive investments—billions of dollars—worth of grants and foundation funding. That propaganda has convinced millions of people around the world that renewable energy and “green technology” will save the day. And there is absolutely zero evidence that is the case, and plenty of evidence to the contrary. So even when a particular group seems grassroots, their ideology has been created and shaped by these massively funded  “Astroturf” organizations.

That’s also why we see such a big focus on personal lifestyle choices. Sure, we should all strive to make moral choices. But “buy or don’t buy” is simply the capitalist model. There is zero threat to the status quo when that is your only weapon. These organizations ask individuals to reduce, but never question empire itself. They never interrogate (let alone threaten) the actual systems of power that are killing the planet. Instead they focus on their silly parochial changes. And I say that as someone who eats as ecologically as possible, drives little, lives in a small cabin in the woods, hunts and forages my own food, etc.

NC: What would you propose to those interested in stopping the current environmental destruction, instead of this pact?

MW: This pact does note that personal changes are insufficient to solve the ecological crisis. That’s good, and it’s a step in the right direction. But they nonetheless put their faith in existing governments and institutions by demanding that they “adopt laws and actions compliant with our climate commitments.” There is no evidence that these institutions will ever live up to the agreements, which are themselves terribly inadequate.

We’re currently on course for more than 4º C of global warming by 2100, and much more after 2100, at the very least. In other words, we’re tracking well beyond the worst case scenarios of the IPCC. Kyoto, Copenhagen, Paris—these have done nothing to slow or reverse these trends. There’s a very real chance this culture could kill more than 90% of all species on this planet, including our own. In fact, we’re well on our way. More than 200 species are driven extinct every day.

Destruction and GHG emissions are built into the structure of modern empire. This society functions by converting the living world into dead commodities. Global warming is merely a symptom of this process. If we want to have a chance in hell of saving the planet, we need to stop focusing on global warming. We need to stop asking governments to save us. We need to stop relying on capitalist, technological solutions. And we need to realize how deadly serious this situation is. We are well along the path towards global fascism, total war, ubiquitous surveillance, normalized patriarchy and racism, a permanent refugee crisis, water and food shortages, and ecological collapse.

We need to build legitimate movements to dismantle global capitalism. All work is useful towards this end. However, I see no way this goal will be achieved without force. The best methods I have come across for achieving this rely on dedicated cadre forming small, highly mobile and trained strike forces. These forces should target key nodes of global industrial infrastructure (shipping, communication, finance, energy, etc.) and destroy them, with the goal of inciting “cascading systems failure.” The interconnected global economy is vulnerable to this type of attack because of how interdependent it is. If the right targets are chosen and effectively attacked, the entire thing could come crashing down.

Obviously this isn’t a magic bullet that will fix every problem. But with ecological collapse now well underway, it is time for desperate measures. This strategy will create the time and space necessary to begin addressing other issues and build sustainable, just societies in the ashes of this corrupt, brutal global empire.

NC: You write that “the agreements” that are presented in this pact “are themselves terribly inadequate”, would you care to elaborate?

Well, this pact is referring specifically to agreements like what came out of Paris.  And the deal that came out of Paris was bullshit. It wasn’t actually sufficient to limit warming to 2º C, let alone 1.5º C. All the worst-case scenarios are playing out. We recently passed the “carbon budget” deadline for 1.5º C laid out by the IPCC. And that’s not even to consider the inherent conservatism of science. I’ve written about this in the past, and it’s a critical topic that’s often missed. A meta-review of climate science in 2010 found that “new scientific findings are… twenty times as likely to indicate that global climate disruption is “worse than previously expected,” rather than “not as bad as previously expected.” It’s likely that things are even worse than we think.

After Paris a group of top climate scientists said that Paris would only create “false hope.” And we’ve seen that play out. But the Paris accord isn’t even being followed. There are no nations that are meeting their commitments. We’ve seen this across the board. This isn’t an isolated case. Each international climate treaty has failed in the same two fundamental ways. First, the goals are inadequate to prevent disaster. Second, the goals haven’t been met.

It’s because these conferences aren’t actually meant to solve the problem. They’re largely a political theater meant to built political support for massive subsidies to corporations building wind turbines, solar panels, electric grids, hydroelectric dams, electric cars, etc. These gatherings a massive international events, akin to WTO conventions, at which NGOs, corporations, and politicians can mingle and make deals.

NC: If I was a mainstream environmentalist, I wouldn’t understand why “wind turbines, solar panels, electric grids, hydroelectric dams, electric cars, etc.” are not a good thing, and I would respond that if the goals are inadequate, then we should ask our leaders, our governments, to set adequate goals. Why are “wind turbines, etc.” not a good thing, and what would adequate goals look like?

MW: To understand this, we have to understand how the global economy works. It runs on energy. The more energy is available, the more growth is enabled. For thousands of years, the total amount of energy consumed by global civilization has increased gradually. It jumped massively when coal, oil, and gas were adopted. But even early civilizations burned more and more wood, and harnessed more and more hydropower for mills and so on.

Solar panels, wind turbines, and other forms of “renewable energy” can be accurately seen as a response to peak oil. All the easily exploited oil, coal, and gas has already been burnt. (Unfortunately for all life, there is still a lot left—it’s just very expensive and dangerous to extract). This means that to expand total energy production, new methods are needed. And that’s why we see “unconventional” oil such as tar sands, oil shale, fracking, arctic drilling, and so on.

It’s also why we see this massive boom in solar and wind. Proponents of these technologies like to trumpet headlines about costs for solar electricity, for example, falling lower than coal in some areas. And because of this, corporations are going all-in. We now see “renewable” energy powering Apple’s data centers, Intel’s factories, Ford production lines, and Wal-Mart stores. Hell, even the US Military is investing heavily in “green energy” for bases and outposts.

People like Bill McKibben and Mark Z. Jacobson look at this as a major success. But the fact is, the boom in solar and wind hasn’t caused emissions to decline. If you look at a few localized areas, you are seeing emissions declines. But most of this comes down to fraudulent accounting, and the key fact that it’s somewhat useless to look at local or even regional emissions in a globalized, interconnected economy. What they hell does it matter if emissions decline in Germany, when they import all their solar panels from China (the #1 polluter now, globally, due to their status as a production center for the rich nations and a rising superpower in their own right) and export millions of brand new cars around the world?

Global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. That’s the key element. We can look at these localized claims of emissions declines as mostly being a form of “carbon laundering,” whereby mostly rich nations are able to claim they’re saving the world while continuing to profit off the backs of the economic colonies. Just like they imported slaves in the past, now they export carbon emissions. It’s all part of the theater and power politics of global empire.

This has been quantified by a sociologist named Richard York, who has shown that bringing online new “green” energy doesn’t actually displace the burning of fossil fuels. In other words, when you add a new wind energy installation, you don’t turn off a coal plant of equivalent size. In practice, the new energy is simply added on top. And that’s where it all comes back to growth. This is a massive growth opportunity for the capitalists. Businesses are practically drooling over the prospect of massive public subsidies for these “sorely needed” renewable energy projects, not to mention electric cars and so on.

So the bottom line is that green energy doesn’t work. Period. Green technology doesn’t work. People can talk about future scenarios all they like, but it’s not working right now.

But people continue to believe in these lies, and that’s because of the propaganda. Look at any mainstream ecology or even liberal news source. They all promote green technology like a religious savior. It’s because they can’t imagine questioning empire itself. The idea of ending this way of life is obscene to them. More accurately, it’s literally unthinkable.

But to look for rationality in all this is silly. My friend Derrick Jensen often says that the dominant culture has “death urge, an urge to destroy all life.” The author Richard Powell explained it in a different way, writing that “the motive behind all of this “deregulation” is not primarily economic. Any reasonable accounting reveals that the sum of these measures carries external costs far greater than the hoped-for benefits. (Did you know that the number-one killer in the world is pollution? And that doesn’t even include premature deaths from climate change.) The push to remove all environmental safety strikes me as mostly psychological. It’s driven by a will to total dominance, underwritten by the hierarchy of values that George Lakoff calls “stern paternalism,” putting men above women, whites above minorities, Americans above all other countries, and humans above all other living things.”

But I would add, just because it’s psychological doesn’t mean it’s not real. The world today is being run by people who believe in money as a god. They’re insane, but they have vast power, and they’re using that power in the real world. That’s the physical manifestation of their violent, corrupt ideology.

NC: So when you write “the idea of ending this way of life is obscene to them”, you mean that they don’t want to give up the modern industrialized way of life? Because in the end that’s the only way out, right? Giving up the modern, industrialized, high-tech way of life, and going back to —or inventing new forms of— small scale and low-tech living? Because, I don’t know about the US, but in France, and in Europe in general, we have this ecosocialist movement, who thinks it’s possible to have both degrowth AND a kind of green industrialism, to develop renewables AND to remove or give up on fossil fuels, to abolish or drastically diminish the use of the individual car and promote public transportation, to choose electrical rail transport instead of trucks, and so on, in short to rationalize the industrial mess, democratically, and to make it green/sustainable. What do you think about that?

MW: I sympathize with the degrowth socialists. I agree with many of them, especially the revolutionary ecosocialists, on a lot of issues. And I enjoy engaging in dialogue with them. I do think that it is physically possible to implement a degrowth model in which the vast majority of consumption is ended. Of course, there is zero political will for that, which is why degrowth must be a revolutionary struggle. Reform and electoral politics will never lead to deliberate degrowth.

But it’s a mistake to think that further development of “renewables” is possible with a degrowth model. Renewables are, without exception, fully dependent on fossil fuels. Take wind turbines, for example. The blades are made of plastics from oil. The steel in wind turbines is made with massive quantities of coke, which is a form of coal. Steel is one of the most toxic industries on the planet, and it’s essential for wind and many of the other “green” technologies. Wind turbines are lubricated with oil. Each turbine requires hundreds of gallons. In fact, Exxon Mobil has a whole wind turbine lubricant division. Turbines are transported into place on fossil fuels-powered trucks, lifted upright by cranes running on diesel, and bolted into foundations made of concrete (a highly energy intensive material) dug by diesel-powered machinery. We could go on and on.

It’s the same with solar. Where does the silicon mining happen? It happens with massive dump trucks which guzzle gallons of diesel per minute. And most solar panels are made in China, so they’re shipped across the ocean on massive vessels. The 100 largest ocean ships pollute more than all the cars in the world.

That’s not even to go into the water issues, pollution, labor exploitation, economic issues. A solar panel production factory is a $100 million facility. In other words, there is no way to make this technology community-scale. You need a globalized economy and massive capital investment to create these “renewables.” And this all runs on oil.

Degrowth socialists should take a more realistic perspective on these issues. The reality is, the planet has limits. The history of industrialism shows those limits. Steel production is not sustainable. Neither is the production of any of the other raw materials that are essential for green technologies. These aren’t simply claims I’m making. This is the physical reality.

A high-tech, ecological, post-capitalist society is a fantasy. We need to recognize what is sustainable, and what isn’t. Factories are not sustainable, whether they are producing hummers or electric buses. Electricity production is not sustainable. I organized an event years ago with Chief Caleen Sisk of the Winnemum Wintu. She grew up with no electricity on Indian land, and she reminded us that “electricity is a convenience. We can live without electricity, but we can’t live without clean water.” I’ve studied the issue and see no way to produce electricity, in the long haul, that doesn’t poison water and destroy the land.

Scientists and techno-priests can talk all they want about green energy and a renewable future, but whenever you analyze the full life-cycle of the technologies, they look like the same old planet-destroying bullshit. So I don’t see technology providing a way out. The best-case scenario I see is that people dismantle capitalism forcefully, via revolution. At the same time, we need to engage in relentless education to teach people the reality of ecological limits and our tasks for the future.

Mass society has some inherent characteristics that make it challenging, if not impossible, to be sustainable or egalitarian. It’s too easy to outsource destruction. Out of sight, out of mind. Look at sweatshop labor, mining, and so on. And it’s too easy for elites to take over the political process. That’s been the history of the last 8,000 years right there. It’s the history of empire.

If we want an egalitarian society, it needs to be in the form of local, autonomous communities. I think the democratic confederalism experiment in northern Syria is an interesting project in this regard. Confederations allow communities to collaborate, trade, work to protect one another from predatory and expansionist groups, and so on. But they preserve the local autonomy and decision-making power that’s essential for sustainability.

We need to replace global society and nation-states with thousands of hyper-localized communities, living with the boundaries of the natural world. These post-capitalist societies aren’t likely to shun electricity and other modern conveniences entirely. We don’t have to throw away every advancement of science and technology from the last 10,000 years. But it’s more likely these societies would jury-rig small-scale electric generation from the scraps of empire than that they’ll have full-fledged solar panel production factories. Long-term, industrial technology is going to disappear.

NC: We have, in France, a growing current, which called itself collapsologie (collapsology). It’s essentially composed of people who have understood that the collapse of industrial civilization is guaranteed, but are mainly concerned by building more resilience (emotional and material), for them and their communities, or elaborating national politics for going through the collapse of industrial civilization, but not fighting against empire, but not fighting for the living. What do you make of that?

MW: It’s a morally bankrupt position. The only way to justify not fighting empire is if you identify with the system. I’ve long been told that we need to decolonize ourselves, and a big part of that is breaking our psychological affiliation with empire and all its components: modern conveniences, culture, food systems, etc. Once we step outside of fear that these systems support our lives, it’s incredibly easy to see that these systems are destroying the planet.

Then, we need to go a step further—and this is the step that most people forget. We need to make our allegiance to the living planet. We need to identify with the greater-than-human world. This can be done at multiple levels. At the basic level, of course, is the physical understanding that we’re dependent on clean water, clean air, clear soil, etc. These are created and maintained by the biotic community, the community of life.

But having only a physical understanding is dangerous, because it can lead to a utilitarianism. We see this reflected in the environmental sciences in ideas like “ecosystem services,” where you try to quantify and put a dollar value on clean water. But the thing is, as soon as you attach a dollar value, that can be used against you, because if the economic value of the industry is greater than the value you’ve found for the water, your argument is moot. By using that capitalist, utilitarian language and argumentation, you’re granting one of their fundamental premises: that the economic factor is the most important.

We need to go to a deeper, spiritual level. Animism is the belief in spirits of the land, a belief that the land itself—mountains, rivers, clouds, storms, and so on—is alive. Some form of this belief system is shared amongst the vast majority of indigenous peoples worldwide. And it’s not a mystery why. I would argue that this is an adaptive trait. To survive in the long term, to live on the land without destroying it, human beings need a narrative that teaches us respect.

I think you can get to a similar mindset in many different ways. For me, it doesn’t really matter if we look at the world as collections of atoms self-organizing into beings, communities, landscapes, with billions of complex chemical reactions supporting the whole, or if we look at it as a world animated by spirits. The sense of awe is immense either way.

We are living in a world of astounding beauty and wonder. I love the world. I love my friends and my human community. I love the oak trees outside my window. I love the meadow beyond them. I love the deer, the wild turkeys, the voles, the spring flowers. I love the seasonal creek that flows nearby. I love the great evergreen forests in the mountains. I love the coastline, and the beings who live there. These aren’t abstract feelings. These are real communities who I have a relationship with.

And they’re being murdered. Within my region you have logging, mining, spraying of pesticides, road building, housing “development,” and worse. This is the economic system of empire, laying waste to this area slowly but surely, just as it does elsewhere. And this is in the US, the heart of empire. It’s much worse elsewhere, on the frontiers and in the economic colonies. And then there are the existential threats of global warming, nuclear annihilation, toxification, and so on.

It’s not that death itself is a problem. I am a hunter, I harvest plants, I take life, but I do so with respect and ensure the community as a whole is healthy. This isn’t comparable to what empire does. Again, civilization is a culture with a death urge, an urge to destroy life. When we see this, and we love the world, not fighting back is unthinkable.

When I hear people who recognize collapse, but who don’t want to fight empire, I feel pity and anger. They must have no love for the living world. But they’re not necessarily a lost cause. Some people can learn to change their beliefs, change their minds, and most importantly to change their actions. But once they are indoctrinated into a certain worldview, most people don’t change.

I agree with these people that we need to build individual and collective resilience. But not simply for the sake of survival, which is ultimately selfish. We need to do it to have a strong foundation for our resistance. We need revolutionary change, not lifeboat survivalism.

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Impersonators Using Printer Vulnerabilities to Spam Small Businesses

[Link] Over the past few days, several organizations from across the United States have reached out to Deep Green Resistance, letting us know about a printer exploit being used to print off DGR-themed flyers at their place of business.

These intrusions seem to be related to a larger wave of forced printings currently affecting unsecured printers (see: https://www.engadget.com/2018/11/30/pewdiepie-printer-hack-thehackergiraffe/).

We want to be very clear that these flyers are not official DGR material and have not been approved by us for publication anywhere, and certainly not on private printers without consent. The use of a Printer Exploitation Toolkit to hijack unprotected printers is unethical, unhelpful for anyone, and illegal.

At the moment, we are unsure who is behind these mailings. If this is the work of an unaffiliated DGR supporter, we ask that you please stop immediately and avoid such invasive, unhelpful behavior in the future. If these mailings are the work of agitators attempting to discredit our movement, we would ask that you please find something better to do with your time and stop wasting paper. Either way, we would like to apologize to anyone who has had to deal with this time-wasting stunt. Although we are unable to prevent every unstable or unscrupulous person from deciding to do stupid and unhelpful things, we are taking every step possible to make sure this doesn’t happen again. In the meantime, we encourage everyone – especially activists – to make sure their internet-connected devices are secure.

Here is the official recommendation on how to secure your printers against this type of attack: “Network administrators should never leave their printers accessible from the Internet and disable raw port 9100/tcp printing if not required” (more here).

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Support Political Prisoners This Season

[Link] Political prisoners, some serving maximum sentences of 25 years to life, are especially vulnerable during the dark days of winter.  Many have been incarcerated so long that family and friends have forgotten them.  Others have family that cannot afford to accept phone calls or visit.  Prisoners are frequently serving sentences far from their homes and phone calls are big business in prisons, charging exorbitantly for calls.  The holiday season is even more difficult for these men and women.

Deep Green Resistance has not forgotten the activists seeking to change this oppressive system.  From the Move 9 group arrested in 1978 for illegal firearms in a confrontation with Philadelphia police (and later bombed by police) to victims of domestic violence who are imprisoned for killing their spouse in self-defense, the U.S. (no) Justice System would like us to forget that there are brave men and women fighting against the oppression of poverty, racism, and misogyny that are imprisoned.

This season, please take a moment to reach out and let a political prisoner know that he/she is not forgotten.  Join us in sending a card to someone who continues to fight for life and help us bring a ray of light to the darkness of prison for an activist.

Remember to contact the prison for regulations on mail and to verify address. Prisoners are often moved to other facilities without warning.

No glue, glitter, or crayons, nothing illegal or immoral, no polaroid pictures.

No food or gifts, although books can be sent if they are mailed from the publisher or store.

Send only cards that are non-denominational or feature nature scenes.

Some suggestions:

Move 9 information

Alvaro Luna Hernandez

#255735

Hughes Unit

Rt 2, Box 4400

Gatesville, TX  76597

May 12, 1952

Alvaro was the national coordinator of the Ricardo Aldape Guerra Defense Committee, which led the struggle to free Mexican national Aldape Guerra from Texas’ death row after he was framed by Houston police. In addition, Alvaro spearheaded the National Movement of La Raza, Stop the Violence Youth Committee and the Prisoners solidarity Committee in Houston. Alvaro was an NGO delegate before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights where he exposed the U.S. government’s dismal human rights record and its human rights violations of U.S. political prisoners. On July 18, 1996, Sheriff Jack McDaniel of Alpine, Texas, attempted to assassinate Alvaro but was thwarted when Alvaro disarmed him. For this he was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Kojo Bomani Sababu (Grailing Brown)

#39384-066

USP Canaan

U.S. Penitentiary

P.O. Box 300

Waymart, PA  18472

May 27, 1953

Kojo Bomani Sababu is a New Afrikan Prisoner of War.  He is currently serving a 55 year sentence for actions with the Black Liberation Army and attempted escape from prison with Puerto Rican Independista Oscar Lopez Rivera.

Kojo was born May 27th 1953 in Atlantic City New Jersey.  In 1962 his father died coming home from work and just two years later his mother was murdered.  A guiding presence in his life, Kojo was devastated by the loss of his mother.  Still, he continued to live out the lesson he taught him, that education is a tool with which to change society.

Kojo was captured on December 19th 1975 along with anarchist Ojore Lutalo during a bank expropriation.  He was also charged with the murder of a drug dealer in his neighborhood.

Convicted of one count of conspiracy for an alleged plan to use rockets, hand grenades and a helicopter in an attempt to free Puerto Rican Prisoner of War Oscar Lopez Rivera from the Federal prison at Leavenworth, Kan., where he was serving a 55-year sentence for a 1981 conviction of seditious conspiracy.

Thomas Manning

#10373-016–FMC Butner

Box 1600

Butner, NC 27509

United States

Birthday: June 28, 1946

Affiliation: ANTI-IMPERIALISTS FREEDOM FIGHTER

Tom Manning is a Vietnam veteran, working class revolutionary and US political prisoner. He militantly struggled against the war in Vietnam and supports the right of self-determination of all oppressed peoples. Tom Manning was captured in 1985 and sentenced to 58 years in federal prison for a series of bombings carried out as “armed propaganda” against apartheid and U.S. imperialism.  He tirelessly fought against racist, genocidal capitalism in the USA.

You can find information on his book of art here:

Freedom Archives

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Prostituted Women Crucial to Economic Growth

[Link] The following is an excerpt from The Industrial Vagina (Chapter 1, Feminists and the global sex industry: cheerleaders or critics) by Sheila Jeffreys.

There is no question that the prostitution of women has played a significant role in the development of many national economies and continues to do so. What is in question is whether this should be celebrated or condemned.

The role of black slavery in the construction of British economic supremacy in the 19th century, for instance, is considered a cause for shame rather than celebration.

It is not obvious that the contribution of prostituted women in debt bondage should receive a much more positive treatment. There is evidence of the way in which the prostitution of girls and women has contributed to the historical economic development of Japan and Australia. The foundation of the ‘comfort women’ system for the Japanese military in the 1930s and 1940s lies in the phenomenon of karayuki-san in the second half of the 19th century. Young women and girls from poor rural areas were kidnapped, deceived by being offered jobs or sold by their parents to traffickers, through very similar methods to those used today in the trafficking in women. They were smuggled out of Japan and sold to brothels in neighbouring countries, in particular China and the east coast of Russia. The children, some of whom were as young as seven when sold, were raised and trained in brothels in the major business centres for this industry, Vladivostok, Shanghai and Singapore. They were trafficked on to brothels in South East Asia, India, Australia, Hawaii, the East Coast of the US, and even Cape Town. In the decades after 1868 their numbers increased rapidly.

The trafficking of karayuki replicates closely the trafficking that takes place today. The girls were sold for $500–800 to brothels and were then in debt bondage, often finding themselves tied into servicing the debt for many years. Many never saw their homes again, and many committed suicide. By 1910 the number of registered karayuki-san was more than 19,000, whereas their equivalent in prostitution within Japan numbered only 47,541. The trafficking was well organized through established crime organizations such as the Yakuza which were traditionally involved in this trade.

…this form of trafficking in women was crucial to the rapid economic and industrial development of Japan in this period. But this importance was long neglected in scholarship. This neglect was perhaps similar to the neglect until comparatively recently of acknowledgement of the role of black slavery in the development of British capitalism.

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Book Review: Make RoJava Green Again, by The Internationalist Commune of Rojava

[Link] “In the Western world the authoritarian state and right wing movements are celebrating their comeback  – the former stars of neoliberalism are already on their way to open fascism.  Trump, Erdogan and Putin are removing the last masks of democracy.  In the face of these developments, most revolutionary movements stand frozen.  Marginalized and without perspective, scattered and estranged, the only role the system leaves for them is to observe and criticize.”

–From “Make Rojava Green Again”

Rojava is an area populated by Kurds and international volunteers that is located in Northern Syria, Northern Iraq, Western Iran and Eastern Turkey.  The all-female YPJ (an acronym whose translation means “Women’s Protection Units”) is the all-female brigade of the YPG, or “People’s Protection Units.” The YPJ have struggled for the past six years against sectarianism, and have worked tirelessly to save this once-healthy land.  This movement has been created and sustained by strong feminist women who are concerned about the health of their environment and a return to a healthy community.

This small book is an inspiration for those of us seeking to bring down established patriarchal, capitalist and sectarian cities and replace them with living communities.

In addition to fighting at the borders, they are raising fruit trees, building up depleted soil, and instituting safe water practices.  They fight against ISIS and build schools.  They bring their ideology of a woman-led society and care of the earth to the political situation in Kurdistan and the entire Middle East.  They are asking for volunteers to come help build a strong community.  Doctors, teachers, gardeners and anyone interested in fighting fascism while building a new, free community is welcome to come.

Go to Make Rojava Green Again for free online book; send email to contact@makerohavagreenagain.org for hard copy, to make a donation, or to send support. 

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Depressed and Then Diagnosed With Autism, Greta Thunberg Explains Why Hope Cannot Save Planet But Bold Climate Action Still Can

[Link] by Jon Queally / Common Dreams

As youth climate campaigners in the U.S. city of Brooklyn on Wednesday plan to continue a climate strike at least partly inspired by the ongoing vigil begun by 15-year-old Greta Thunberg in Sweden earlier this year, a new TEDx Talk released this week reveals that what inspired the Swedish teenager to take action was as simple as it was profound: she fell into sadness as she saw the leaders of the world—even those who admitted human-caused global warming was an “existential crisis”—continue to act and make policy decisions as though no emergency existed.

Everyone keeps saying, Thunberg declares in the 11-minute talk, that climate “is the most important issue of all, and yet they just carry on as before. I don’t understand that. Because if the emissions have to stop, then we must stop the emissions. To me that is black or white. There are no gray areas when it comes to survival. Either we go on as a civilization or we don’t. We have to change.”

As a key part of the talk, Thunberg describes how at the age of eleven, several years after learning about the concept of climate change for the first time, she fell into a depression and became ill. “I stopped talking. I stopped eating,” she explains. “In two months, I lost about ten kilos of weight. Later on I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, OCD, and selective mutism—that basically means I only speak when I think it’s necessary.”

After a short pause, she adds, “Now is one of those moments.”

“For those of us on the spectrum,” Thunberg explains to the audience, “almost everything is black or white. We aren’t very good at lying and we usually don’t enjoy participating in the social game as the rest of you seem so fond of. I think in many ways we autistic are the normal ones and the rest of the people are pretty strange—especially when it comes to the sustainability crisis.”

Towards the conclusion of her talk, Thunberg says that “this is when people usually start talking about hope—solar panels, wind power, circular economy, and so on—but I’m not going to do that.”

And continues, “We’ve had thirty years of pep-talking and selling positive ideas. And I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work. Because if it would have, the emissions would have gone down by now—they haven’t.”

Finally, she says: “Yes, we do need hope—of course, we do. But the one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere.”

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How Circular is the Circular Economy?

[Link] by Kris De Decker / Local Futures

The circular economy has become, for many governments, institutions, companies, and environmental organizations, one of the main components of a plan to lower carbon emissions. In the circular economy, resources would be continually re-used, meaning that there would be no more mining activity or waste production. The stress is on recycling, made possible by designing products so that they can easily be taken apart.

Attention is also paid to developing an “alternative consumer culture”. In the circular economy, we would no longer own products, but would loan them. For example, a customer could pay not for lighting devices but for light, while the company remains the owner of the lighting devices and pays the electricity bill. A product thus becomes a service, which is believed to encourage businesses to improve the lifespan and recyclability of their products.

The circular economy is presented as an alternative to the “linear economy” – a term that was coined by the proponents of circularity, and which refers to the fact that industrial societies turn valuable resources into waste. However, while there’s no doubt that the current industrial model is unsustainable, the question is how different to so-called circular economy would be.

Several scientific studies (see references) describe the concept as an “idealized vision”, a “mix of various ideas from different domains”, or a “vague idea based on pseudo-scientific concepts”. There are three main points of criticism, which we discuss below.

Too Complex to Recycle

The first dent in the credibility of the circular economy is the fact that the recycling process of modern products is far from 100% efficient. A circular economy is nothing new. In the middle ages, old clothes were turned into paper, food waste was fed to chickens or pigs, and new buildings were made from the remains of old buildings. The difference between then and now is the resources used.

Before industrialization, almost everything was made from materials that were either decomposable – like wood, reeds, or hemp – or easy to recycle or re-use – like iron and bricks. Modern products are composed of a much wider diversity of (new) materials, which are mostly not decomposable and are also not easily recycled. For example, a recent study of the modular Fairphone 2 – a smartphone designed to be recyclable and have a longer lifespan – shows that the use of synthetic materials, microchips, and batteries makes closing the circle impossible. Only 30% of the materials used in the Fairphone 2 can be recouped. A study of LED lights had a similar result.

The more complex a product, the more steps and processes it takes to recycle. In each step of this process, resources and energy are lost. Furthermore, in the case of electronic products, the production process itself is much more resource-intensive than the extraction of the raw materials, meaning that recycling the end product can only recoup a fraction of the input. And while some plastics are indeed being recycled, this process only produces inferior materials (“downcycling”) that enter the waste stream soon afterwards.

The low efficiency of the recycling process is, on its own, enough to take the ground from under the concept of the circular economy: the loss of resources during the recycling process always needs to be compensated with more over-extraction of the planet’s resources. Recycling processes will improve, but recycling is always a trade-off between maximum material recovery and minimum energy use. And that brings us to the next point.

How to Recycle Energy Sources?

The second dent in the credibility of the circular economy is the fact that 20% of total resources used worldwide are fossil fuels. More than 98% of that is burnt as a source of energy and can’t be re-used or recycled. At best, the excess heat from, for example, the generation of electricity, can be used to replace other heat sources.

As energy is transferred or transformed, its quality diminishes (second law of thermodynamics). For example, it’s impossible to operate one car or one power plant with the excess heat from another. Consequently, there will always be a need to mine new fossil fuels. Besides, recycling materials also requires energy, both through the recycling process and the transportation of recycled and to-be-recycled materials.

To this, the supporters of the circular economy have a response: we will shift to 100% renewable energy. But this doesn’t make the circle round: to build and maintain renewable energy plants and accompanied infrastructures, we also need resources (both energy and materials). What’s more, technology to harvest and store renewable energy relies on difficult-to-recycle materials. That’s why solar panels, wind turbines and lithium-ion batteries are not recycled, but landfilled or incinerated.

Input Exceeds Output

The third dent in the credibility of the circular economy is the biggest:  global resource use – both energetic and material – keeps increasing year by year. The use of resources grew by 1,400% in the last century: from 7 gigatons (Gt) in 1900 to 62 Gt in 2005 and 78 Gt in 2010. That’s an average growth of about 3% per year – more than double the rate of population growth.

Growth makes a circular economy impossible, even if all raw materials were recycled and all recycling was 100% efficient. The amount of used material that can be recycled will always be smaller than the material needed for growth. To compensate for that, we have to continuously extract more resources.

The difference between demand and supply is bigger than you might think. If we look at the whole life cycle of resources, then it becomes clear that proponents for a circular economy only focus on a very small part of the whole system, and thereby misunderstand the way it operates.

A considerable segment of all resources – about a third of the total – are neither recycled, nor incinerated or dumped: they are accumulated in buildings, infrastructure, and consumer goods. In 2005, 62 Gt of resources were used globally. After subtracting energy sources (fossil fuels and biomass) and waste from the mining sector, the remaining 30 Gt were used to make material goods. Of these, 4 Gt was used to make products that last for less than one year (disposable products).

The other 26 Gt was accumulated in buildings, infrastructure, and consumer goods that last for more than a year. In the same year, 9 Gt of all surplus resources were disposed of, meaning that the “stocks” of material capital grew by 17 Gt in 2005. In comparison: the total waste that could be recycled in 2005 was only 13 Gt (4 Gt disposable products and 9 Gt surplus resources), of which only a third (4 Gt) can be effectively recycled.  About a third of all resources are neither recycled, nor incinerated or dumped: they are accumulated in buildings, infrastructure, and consumer goods.

Only 9 Gt is then put in a landfill, incinerated, or dumped – and it is this 9 Gt that the circular economy focuses on. But even if that was all recycled, and if the recycling processes were 100% efficient, the circle would still not be closed: 63 Gt in raw materials and 30 Gt in material products would still be needed.

As long as we keep accumulating raw materials, the closing of the material life cycle remains an illusion, even for materials that are, in principle, recyclable. For example, recycled metals can only supply 36% of the yearly demand for new metal, even if metal has relatively high recycling capacity, at about 70%. We still use more raw materials in the system than can be made available through recycling – and so there are simply not enough recyclable raw materials to put a stop to the continuously expanding extractive economy.

The True Face of the Circular Economy

A more responsible use of resources is of course an excellent idea. But to achieve that, recycling and re-use alone aren’t enough. Since 71% of all resources cannot be recycled or re-used (44% of which are energy sources and 27% of which are added to existing stocks), you can only really get better numbers by reducing total use.

A circular economy would therefore demand that we use less fossil fuels (which isn’t the same as using more renewable energy), and that we accumulate less raw materials in commodities. Most importantly, we need to make less stuff: fewer cars, fewer microchips, fewer buildings. This would result in a double profit: we would need less resources, while the supply of discarded materials available for re-use and recycling would keep growing for many years to come.

It seems unlikely that the proponents of the circular economy would accept these additional conditions. The concept of the circular economy is intended to align sustainability with economic growth – in other words, more cars, more microchips, more buildings. For example, the European Union states that the circular economy will “foster sustainable economic growth”.

Even the limited goals of the circular economy – total recycling of a fraction of resources – demands an extra condition that proponents probably won’t agree with: that everything is once again made with wood and simple metals, without using synthetic materials, semi-conductors, lithium-ion batteries or composite materials.

This post originally appeared in Low-Tech Magazine, and republished by Local Futures.

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Canadian Court Gives Coastal Gaslink Permission to Violate Indigenous Rights

[Link] by Courtney Parker / Intercontinental Cry

For over 6 years now, environmental defenders representing the Unist’ot’en, an official faction of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, have been standing guard over their traditional territory from invasion by Transcanada’s Coastal Gaslink pipeline.

On December 14, 2018, a British Columbia Supreme Court Justice levied a temporary injunction, ordering an end to the blockade — bypassing the required consent of tribal leaders.

Prior to this, a gated blockade had prevented pipeline workers from trespassing onto First Nation lands through the Morice River bridge — located on a forest road.

The injunction, which demands environmental defenders vacate their stronghold of resistance to the planned 670 kilometer pipeline, is set to start on Monday, December 17th, allowing pipeline workers free passage until May 2019.

In a show of quasi-generosity, Coastal Gaslink has stated that the camp connected to the blockade may remain in place… as long as they discontinue any obstruction of pre-construction traffic through the gated area.

“Right now, our focus is on respectfully and safely moving forward with project activities, including gaining safe access across the Morice River bridge … We simply ask that their activities do not disrupt or jeopardize the safety of our employees and contractors, surrounding communities or even themselves,” Coastal GasLink said in a statement.

Representatives of Coastal Gaslink have also cited an inability of First Nation communities to provide restitution for any ‘losses’ the company could incur through delays or obstructions to construction plans as support for the injunction and enforcement order.

Yet, enforcement of the project remains dubious given that the territory has never changed hands via treaty, nor have land rights ever been conceded in any manner. In effect, the right of the Unist’ot’en People to determine the fate of their ancestral land remains intact.

This also makes the injunction a clear violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which requires ‘free, prior and informed consent’ (FPIC) when it comes to development, investment or extraction initiatives on Indigenous territories.

The area in question has been occupied by the Unist’ot’en for generations; their current leader, Chief Knedebeas, describes occupying and carrying out tribal traditions there since his childhood.

Now, the territory under threat is being used as a crucial healing center where Wet’suwet’en people are receiving treatment for addiction. Freda Hudson, Unist’ot’en clan, explained:

“The Unist’ot’en Healing Centre was constructed to fulfill their vision of a culturally-safe healing program, centred on the healing properties of the land. It is the embodiment of self-determined wellness and decolonization, with potential to build up culture-based resiliency of Indigenous people who need support, through re-establishing relationships with land, ancestors and the underlying universal teachings that connect distinct Indigenous communities across the world.”

The Unist’ot’en have until January 31, 2019 to respond to Coastal Gaslink’s application.

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Courage

[Story] by Max Wilbert / Deep Green Resistance

People often talk about ecological collapse as if it were a distant scenario that might play out in the future, but the reality is that the planet is currently in a state of collapse. This process has been underway for decades.

Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa and a state still emerging from its legacy as a principal hub of the transcontinental slave trade and decades of British colonial rule.

Although it has long since gained independence, Nigeria has been a virtual oil colony for more than 60 years. Multinational corporations such as Shell and Chevron essentially run the Nigerian government, funding corrupt politicians and military officers to quash all legitimate dissent.  Despite the supposed shift to democracy in 1999, Nigeria remains an economic colony run by oligarchs and foreign corporations. Its current president is retired general Muhammadu Buhari, who some locals describe as “Mr. Oil.”[i]

The hardest-hit zone is the oil-rich Niger River Delta, a vast wetland that has been turned into a toxic cesspool by the equivalent of an Exxon-Valdez sized oil spill every single year. Between oil spills, acid rain, and water contamination, the residents of the Niger River Delta are on the front lines of the environmental and capitalist crisis.

In the 1990’s, political opposition to oil extraction in the Niger River Delta became widespread. Much of the resistance was led by women, as Nigeria has a long history of collective women’s action. But the most famous figure of the resistance was Ken Saro-Wiwa, a poet-turned activist who led the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni people (MOSOP).

In 1995, Nigeria’s ruling military dictatorship arrested Saro-Wiwa along with 8 other leaders of MOSOP on trumped-up charges. They were tried and executed by hanging, and their bodies were dumped into a mass grave. This atrocity marked the end of the non-violent campaign in Nigeria and the beginning of a new phase of struggle.

In the mid-2000’s, a militant group emerged in Nigeria known as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta—MEND. Born out of the failure of non-violence, MEND adopted radical new tactics: kidnapping oil workers for ransom, assassinating executives, and sabotaging oil pipelines, tankers, pump stations, offshore platforms, and other infrastructure.

MEND’s tactics have been innovative, using speed, stealth, and intelligence to target their attacks where they will do the most damage. At the height of their operations, MEND disabled a full half of all oil capacity in Nigeria, the largest oil exporting nation in Africa and a member of OPEC. One analyst writes that MEND’s targets have “been accurately selected to completely shut down production and delay/halt repairs.”[ii]

In 2006, MEND militants released a chilling letter reminding the oil companies of their total commitment.

“It must be clear that the Nigerian government cannot protect your workers or assets. Leave our land while you can or die in it,” the group wrote. “Our aim is to totally destroy the capacity of the Nigerian government to export oil.”[iii]

It is difficult for us to imagine the level of courage it takes for people from the Niger River Delta to rise up in the face of nearly impossible odds against Shell’s elite private mercenary armies and the American-trained special forces units of the Nigerian military.

But we must imagine it, and compare this to our own courage, or lack of courage.

Here in the United States, a grossly inequal and destructive society has been built on land stolen from indigenous people. Slaves built the American capitalism which today is maintained by weapons manufacturers, parasitic drug companies, predatory finance and investment banks, a private prison system that differs little from chattel slavery, and a global oil empire that has been built on the bones of the Ogoni people, on the total poisoning of the Gulf of Mexico, and on the tar sands, the largest and most destructive industrial project on Earth.

The signs of what is happening are so clear ignorance is a willful choice. Just a few days ago, the United Nations warned of imminent “ecosystem collapse.” The IPCC has issued warning after warning of the dire consequences of global warming. Plankton populations, the very foundation of oceanic life and the source of most of the world’s oxygen, are collapsing. Insect populations are collapsing. The last fragments of uncut forests around the world are falling to the chainsaw as fascists and militarists like Bolsonaro, Trump, Putin, Jinping, and Duterte sell off every last fragment of the planet to fund their nationalist, militarist dreams. Coral reefs are dying, wetlands are being drained, and rising seas are expected to make 2 billion people into refugees by century’s end.

As our world teeters on the brink of total ecological and social collapse, we have no more excuses. We have all the information and all the inspiration we need. The times are prompting us to exercise our “revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow” the systems that are murdering the planet and trampling human lives.

If we continue to take no action, we are all cowards. There is no other way to explain our inaction.

[i] Nigeria Oil and Gas: An Introduction and Outlook. By Dele Ogun. Oil and Gas IQ. October 16, 2018. https://www.oilandgasiq.com/market-outlook/news/nigeria-oil-and-gas-an-introduction-and-outlook.

[ii] Nigerian Evoluition. Global Guerillas. January 2006. https://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2006/01/nigerian_evolut.html.

[iii] NIGERIA: Shell may pull out of Niger Delta after 17 die in boat raid. By Daniel Howden. Corpwatch. January 17, 2006. https://corpwatch.org/article/nigeria-shell-may-pull-out-niger-delta-after-17-die-boat-raid.

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Book Excerpt: Target Selection

[Story] Editor’s note: The following is from the chapter “Tactics and Targets” of the book Deep Green Resistance: A Strategy to Save the  Planet. This book is now available for free online.

by Aric McBay

A good tactic used on a poor target has little effect.

The Field Manual on Guerrilla Warfare identifies four “important factors related to the target which influence its final selection,”10 later expanded to six with the CARVER matrix.13 These criteria are meant specifically for targets to be disrupted or destroyed, not necessarily when choosing potential targets for intelligence gathering or further investigation. The six criteria are as follows:

Criticality. How important is this target to the enemy and to enemy operations? “A target is critical when its destruction or damage will exercise a significant influence upon the enemy’s ability to conduct or support operations. Such targets as bridges, tunnels, ravines, and mountain passes are critical to lines of communication; engines, ties, and POL [petroleum, oil, and lubricant] stores are critical to transportation. Each target is considered in relationship to other elements of the target system.” Resistance movements (and the military) look for bottlenecks when selecting a target. And they make sure to think in big picture terms, rather than just in terms of a specific individual target. What target(s) can be disrupted or destroyed to cause maximum damage to the entire enemy system? Multiple concurrent surprise attacks are ideal for resistance movements, and can cause cascading failures.

Accessibility. How easy is it to get near the target? “Accessibility is measured by the ability of the attacker to infiltrate into the target area. In studying a target for accessibility, security controls around the target area, location of the target, and means of infiltration are considered.” It’s important to make a clear distinction between accessibility and vulnerability. For a resister in Occupied France, a well-guarded fuel depot might be explosively vulnerable, but not very accessible. For resisters in German-occupied Warsaw, the heavy wall surrounding the Warsaw Ghetto might be easily accessible, but not very vulnerable unless they carried powerful explosives. Good intelligence and reconnaissance are key to identifying and bypassing obstacles to access.

Recuperability. How much effort would it take to rebuild or replace the target? “Recuperability is the enemy’s ability to restore a damaged facility to normal operating capacity. It is affected by the enemy capability to repair and replace damaged portions of the target.” Specialized installations, hard-to-find parts, or people with special unique skills are difficult to replace. Targets with very common or mass-produced and stockpiled components would be poorer targets in terms of recuperability. Undermining enemy recuperability can be done with good planning and multiple attacks: SOE saboteurs were trained to target the same important parts on every machine. If they were to sabotage all of the locomotives in a stockyard, they would blow up the same part on each train, thus preventing the engineers from cannibalizing parts from other trains to make a working one.

Vulnerability. How tough is the target? “Vulnerability is a target’s susceptibility to attack by means available to [resistance] forces. Vulnerability is influenced by the nature of the target, i.e., type, size, disposition and composition.” In military terminology, a “soft target” is one that is relatively vulnerable, while a “hard target” is well defended or fortified. A soft target could be a sensitive electrical component, a flammable storage shed, or a person. A hard target might be a roadway, a concrete bunker, or a military installation. Hard targets require more capacity or armament to disable. A battle tank might have lower vulnerability when faced with a resister armed with a Molotov cocktail, but high vulnerability against someone armed with a rocket-propelled grenade.

Effect. Will a successful attack increase the chances of achieving larger goals? What consequences might result, intended and unintended? An attack on a pipeline might result in an oil spill, with collateral damage to life in the immediate vicinity. Escalation of sabotage might result in increased surveillance and repression of the general populace.

Recognizability. How difficult is it to identify the target during the operation, under different conditions of daylight, weather, and season? A brightly lit facility adjacent to a road is easy to locate, even at night, but it may be difficult to pick out a particular oil derrick owned by a particular company amidst acres of wells, or a specific CEO in a crowd of businesspeople.

From this perspective the ideal target would be highly critical (such that damage would cause cascading systems failures), highly vulnerable, very accessible and easy to identify, difficult and time-consuming to repair or replace, and unlikely to cause undesirable side effects. The poorest target would be of low importance for enemy operations but with high risk of negative side effects, hardened, inaccessible and hard to find, and easily replaced. You’ll note that there’s no category for “symbolic value” to the enemy, because the writers of the manual weren’t interested in symbolic targets. They consistently emphasize that successful operations will undermine the morale of the adversary, while increasing morale of the resisters and their supporters. The point is to carry out decisively effective action with the knowledge that such action will have emotional benefits for your side, not to carry out operations that seem emotionally appealing in the hopes that those choices will lead to effective action.

An additional criterion not discussed above would be destructivity. How damaging is the existence of the target to people and other living creatures? A natural gas–burning power plant might be more valuable based on the six criteria, but a coal-fired power plant could be more destructive, making it a higher priority from a practical and symbolic perspective.

It’s rare to find a perfect target. It’s more likely that choosing among targets will require certain trade-offs. A remote enemy installation might be more vulnerable, but it could also be more difficult to access and possibly less important to the adversary. Larger, more critical installations are often better guarded and less vulnerable. Target decisions have to be made in the context of the larger strategy, taking into account tactics and organizational capability.

One of the reasons that the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) has had limited decisive success so far is that its targets have had low criticality and high recuperability. New suburban subdivisions are certainly crimes against ecology, but partially constructed homes are not very important to those in power, and they are relatively replaceable. The effect is primarily symbolic, and it’s hard to find a case in which a construction project has actually been given up because of ELF activity—although many have certainly been made more expensive.

Most often, it seems that resistance targets in North America are chosen on the basis of vulnerability and accessibility, rather than on criticality. It’s easy to walk up to a Walmart window and smash it in the middle of the night or to destroy a Foot Locker storefront during a protest march. Aggressive symbolic attacks do get attention, and if a person’s main indicator of success is a furor on the 10:00 pm news, then igniting the local Burger King is likely to achieve that. But making a decisive impact on systems of power and their basis of support is more difficult to measure. If those in power are clever, they’ll downplay the really damaging actions to make themselves seem invulnerable, but scream bloody murder over a smashed window in order to whip up public opinion. And isn’t that what often happens on the news? If a biotech office is smashed and not a single person injured, the corporate journalists and pundits start pontificating about “violence” and “terrorism.” But if a dozen US soldiers are blown up by insurgents in Iraq, the White House press secretary will calmly repeat over and over that “America” is winning and that these incidents are only minor setbacks.

The Black Liberation Army (BLA) is an example of a group that chose targets in alignment with its goals. The BLA formed as an offshoot (or, some would argue, as a parallel development) of the Black Panther Party. The BLA was not interested in symbolic targets, but in directly targeting those who oppressed people of color. Writes historian Dan Berger: “The BLA’s Program included three components: retaliation against police violence in Black communities; elimination of drugs and drug dealers from Black communities; and helping captured BLA members escape from prison.”11 The BLA essentially believed that aboveground black organizing was doomed because of violent COINTELPRO-style tactics, and that the BPP had become a reformist organization. They argued that “the character of reformism is based on unprincipled class collaboration with our enemy.”12 In part because of their direct personal experience of violent repression at the hands of the state, they did not hesitate to kill white police officers in retaliation for attacks on the black community.

The IRA was also ruthless in their target selection, though they had limited choices in terms of attacking their occupiers. By the time WWII rolled around, resisters in Europe had a wide variety of potential and critical targets for sabotage, such as rail and telegraph lines, and further industrialization has only increased the number of critical mechanical targets, but a century ago, Ireland was hardly mechanized at all. That is why Michael Collins correctly identified British intelligence agents as the most critical and least recuperable targets available. Furthermore, his networks of spies and assassins made those agents—already soft targets—highly accessible. They were a perfect match for all six target selection criteria.

It’s worth noting that these six criteria are not just applicable to targets that are going to be destroyed. The same criteria are used to select “pressure points” on which to exert political force for any strategy of resistance, even one that is explicitly nonviolent. Effective strikes or acts of civil disobedience can exert more political force by disrupting more critical and vulnerable targets—the more accessible, the better.

These criteria for target selection go both ways. Our own resistance movements are targets for those in power, and it’s important to understand our organizations as potential targets. Leaders have often been attacked because they were crucial to the organization. Underground leaders are less accessible, but potentially more vulnerable if they can be isolated from their base of support. And aboveground groups often have better recuperability, because they have a larger pool to draw from and fewer training requirements; recall the waves after waves of civil rights activists willing to be arrested in Birmingham, Alabama.

Anyone who casts their lot with a resistance movement must be prepared for reprisals. Those reprisals will come whether the actionists are aboveground or underground, choosing violence or nonviolence. Many activists, especially from privileged backgrounds, naïvely assume that fighting fair will somehow cause those in power to do the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. The moment that any power structure feels threatened, it will retaliate. It will torture Buddhists and nuns, turn fire hoses on school children, and kill innocent civilians. A brief perusal of Amnesty International’s website will acquaint you with nonviolent protestors around the globe currently being detained and tortured or who have disappeared for simple actions like letter writing or peaceably demonstrating.

This is a reality that privileged people must come to terms with or else any movement risks a rupture when power comes down on actionists. Those retaliations are not anyone’s fault; they are to be expected. Any serious resistance movement should be intellectually and emotionally prepared for the power structure’s response. People are arrested, detained, and killed—often in large numbers—when power strikes back. Those who provide a challenge to power will be faced with consequences, some of them inhumanly cruel. The sooner everyone understands that, the better prepared we all will be to handle it.

Now, having discussed what makes good strategy, how resistance groups organize effectively, and what sort of culture resistance groups need to support them, it is time to take a deep breath. A real deep breath.

This culture is killing the planet. It systematically dispossesses sustainable indigenous cultures. Runaway global warming (and other toxic effects of this culture) could easily lead to billions of human deaths, and indeed the murder of the oceans, and even more, the effective destruction of this planet’s capacity to support life.

The question becomes: what is to be done?

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Book Excerpt: The Four Phases of Decisive Ecological Warfare

[Link] Editor’s note: The following is from the chapter “Decisive Ecological Warfare” of the book Deep Green Resistance: A Strategy to Save the  Planet. This book is now available for free online.

by Aric McBay

In this alternate future scenario, Decisive Ecological Warfare has four phases that progress from the near future through the fall of industrial civilization. The first phase is Networking & Mobilization. The second phase is Sabotage & Asymmetric Action. The third phase is Systems Disruption. And the fourth and final phase is Decisive Dismantling of Infrastructure.

Each phase has its own objectives, operational approaches, and organizational requirements. There’s no distinct dividing line between the phases, and different regions progress through the phases at different times. These phases emphasize the role of militant resistance networks. The aboveground building of alternatives and revitalization of human communities happen at the same time. But this does not require the same strategic rigor; rebuilding healthy human communities with a subsistence base must simply happen as fast as possible, everywhere, with timetables and methods suited to the region. This scenario’s militant resisters, on the other hand, need to share some grand strategy to succeed.

PHASE I: NETWORKING & MOBILIZATION

Preamble: In phase one, resisters focus on organizing themselves into networks and building cultures of resistance to sustain those networks. Many sympathizers or potential recruits are unfamiliar with serious resistance strategy and action, so efforts are taken to spread that information. But key in this phase is actually forming the above- and underground organizations (or at least nuclei) that will carry out organizational recruitment and decisive action. Security culture and resistance culture are not very well developed at this point, so extra efforts are made to avoid sloppy mistakes that would lead to arrests, and to dissuade informers from gathering or passing on information.

Training of activists is key in this phase, especially through low-risk (but effective) actions. New recruits will become the combatants, cadres, and leaders of later phases. New activists are enculturated into the resistance ethos, and existing activists drop bad or counterproductive habits. This is a time when the resistance movement gets organized and gets serious. People are putting their individual needs and conflicts aside in order to form a movement that can fight to win.

In this phase, isolated people come together to form a vision and strategy for the future, and to establish the nuclei of future organizations. Of course, networking occurs with resistance-oriented organizations that already exist, but most mainstream organizations are not willing to adopt positions of militancy or intransigence with regard to those in power or the crises they face. If possible, they should be encouraged to take positions more in line with the scale of the problems at hand.

This phase is already underway, but a great deal of work remains to be done.

Objectives:

– To build a culture of resistance, with all that entails.

– To build aboveground and underground resistance networks, and to ensure the survival of those networks.

Operations:

– Operations are generally lower-risk actions, so that people can be trained and screened, and support networks put in place. These will fall primarily into the sustaining and shaping categories.

– Maximal recruitment and training is very important at this point. The earlier people are recruited, the more likely they are to be trustworthy and the longer time is available to screen them for their competency for more serious action.

– Communications and propaganda operations are also required for outreach and to spread information about useful tactics and strategies, and on the necessity for organized action.

Organization:

– Most resistance organizations in this scenario are still diffuse networks, but they begin to extend and coalesce. This phase aims to build organization.

PHASE II: SABOTAGE & ASYMMETRIC ACTION

Preamble: In this phase, the resisters might attempt to disrupt or disable particular targets on an opportunistic basis. For the most part, the required underground networks and skills do not yet exist to take on multiple larger targets. Resisters may go after particularly egregious targets—coal-fired power plants or exploitative banks. At this phase, the resistance focus is on practice, probing enemy networks and security, and increasing support while building organizational networks. In this possible future, underground cells do not attempt to provoke overwhelming repression beyond the ability of what their nascent networks can cope with. Furthermore, when serious repression and setbacks do occur, they retreat toward the earlier phase with its emphasis on organization and survival. Indeed, major setbacks probably do happen at this phase, indicating a lack of basic rules and structure and signaling the need to fall back on some of the priorities of the first phase.

The resistance movement in this scenario understands the importance of decisive action. Their emphasis in the first two phases has not been on direct action, but not because they are holding back. It’s because they are working as well as they damned well can, but doing so while putting one foot in front of the other. They know that the planet (and the future) need their action, but understand that it won’t benefit from foolish and hasty action, or from creating problems for which they are not yet prepared. That only leads to a morale whiplash and disappointment. So their movement acts as seriously and swiftly and decisively as it can, but makes sure that it lays the foundation it needs to be truly effective.

The more people join that movement, the harder they work, and the more driven they are, the faster they can progress from one phase to the next.

In this alternate future, aboveground activists in particular take on several important tasks. They push for acceptance and normalization of more militant and radical tactics where appropriate. They vocally support sabotage when it occurs. More moderate advocacy groups use the occurrence of sabotage to criticize those in power for failing to take action on critical issues like climate change (rather than criticizing the saboteurs). They argue that sabotage would not be necessary if civil society would make a reasonable response to social and ecological problems, and use the opportunity and publicity to push solutions to the problems. They do not side with those in power against the saboteurs, but argue that the situation is serious enough to make such action legitimate, even though they have personally chosen a different course.

At this point in the scenario, more radical and grassroots groups continue to establish a community of resistance, but also establish discrete organizations and parallel institutions. These institutions establish themselves and their legitimacy, make community connections, and particularly take steps to found relationships outside of the traditional “activist bubble.” These institutions also focus on emergency and disaster preparedness, and helping people cope with impending collapse.

Simultaneously, aboveground activists organize people for civil disobedience, mass confrontation, and other forms of direct action where appropriate.

Something else begins to happen: aboveground organizations establish coalitions, confederations, and regional networks, knowing that there will be greater obstacles to these later on. These confederations maximize the potential of aboveground organizing by sharing materials, knowledge, skills, learning curricula, and so on. They also plan strategically themselves, engaging in persistent planned campaigns instead of reactive or crisis-to-crisis organizing.

Objectives:

– Identify and engage high-priority individual targets. These targets are chosen by these resisters because they are especially attainable or for other reasons of target selection.

– Give training and real-world experience to cadres necessary to take on bigger targets and systems. Even decisive actions are limited in scope and impact at this phase, although good target selection and timing allows for significant gains.

– These operations also expose weak points in the system, demonstrate the feasibility of material resistance, and inspire other resisters.

– Publically establish the rationale for material resistance and confrontation with power.

– Establish concrete aboveground organizations and parallel institutions.

Operations:

– Limited but increasing decisive operations, combined with growing sustaining operations (to support larger and more logistically demanding organizations) and continued shaping operations.

– In decisive and supporting operations, these hypothetical resisters are cautious and smart. New and unseasoned cadres have a tendency to be overconfident, so to compensate they pick only operations with certain outcomes; they know that in this stage they are still building toward the bigger actions that are yet to come.

Organization:

– Requires underground cells, but benefits from larger underground networks. There is still an emphasis on recruitment at this point. Aboveground networks and movements are proliferating as much as they can, especially since the work to come requires significant lead time for developing skills, communities, and so on.

PHASE III: SYSTEMS DISRUPTION

Preamble: In this phase resisters step up from individual targets to address entire industrial, political, and economic systems. Industrial systems disruption requires underground networks organized in a hierarchal or paramilitary fashion. These larger networks emerge out of the previous phases with the ability to carry out multiple simultaneous actions.

Systems disruption is aimed at identifying key points and bottlenecks in the adversary’s systems (electrical, transport, financial, and so on) and engaging them to collapse those systems or reduce their functionality. This is not a one-shot deal. Industrial systems are big and can be fragile, but they are sprawling rather than monolithic. Repairs are attempted. The resistance members understand that. Effective systems disruption requires planning for continued and coordinated actions over time.

In this scenario, the aboveground doesn’t truly gain traction as long as there is business as usual. On the other hand, as global industrial and economic systems are increasingly disrupted (because of capitalist-induced economic collapse, global climate disasters, peak oil, peak soil, peak water, or for other reasons) support for resilient local communities increases. Failures in the delivery of electricity and manufactured goods increases interest in local food, energy, and the like. These disruptions also make it easier for people to cope with full collapse in the long term—short-term loss, long-term gain, even where humans are concerned.

Dimitry Orlov, a major analyst of the Soviet collapse, explains that the dysfunctional nature of the Soviet system prepared people for its eventual disintegration. In contrast, a smoothly functioning industrial economy causes a false sense of security so that people are unprepared, worsening the impact. “After collapse, you regret not having an unreliable retail segment, with shortages and long bread lines, because then people would have been forced to learn to shift for themselves instead of standing around waiting for somebody to come and feed them.”18

Aboveground organizations and institutions are well-established by this phase of this alternate scenario. They continue to push for reforms, focusing on the urgent need for justice, relocalization, and resilient communities, given that the dominant system is unfair, unreliable, and unstable.

Of course, in this scenario the militant actions that impact daily life provoke a backlash, sometimes from parts of the public, but especially from authoritarians on every level. The aboveground activists are the frontline fighters against authoritarianism. They are the only ones who can mobilize the popular groundswell needed to prevent fascism.

Furthermore, aboveground activists use the disrupted systems as an opportunity to strengthen local communities and parallel institutions. Mainstream people are encouraged to swing their support to participatory local alternatives in the economic, political, and social spheres. When economic turmoil causes unemployment and hyperinflation, people are employed locally for the benefit of their community and the land. In this scenario, as national governments around the world increasingly struggle with crises (like peak oil, food shortages, climate chaos, and so on) and increasingly fail to provide for people, local and directly democratic councils begin to take over administration of basic and emergency services, and people redirect their taxes to those local entities (perhaps as part of a campaign of general noncooperation against those in power). This happens in conjunction with the community emergency response and disaster preparedness measures already undertaken.

In this scenario, whenever those in power try to increase exploitation or authoritarianism, aboveground resisters call for people to withdraw support from those in power, and divert it to local, democratic political bodies. Those parallel institutions can do a better job than those in power. The cross demographic relationships established in previous phases help to keep those local political structures accountable, and to rally support from many communities.

Throughout this phase, strategic efforts are made to augment existing stresses on economic and industrial systems caused by peak oil, financial instability, and related factors. The resisters think of themselves as pushing on a rickety building that’s already starting to lean. Indeed, in this scenario many systems disruptions come from within the system itself, rather than from resisters.

This phase accomplishes significant and decisive gains. Even if the main industrial and economic systems have not completely collapsed, prolonged disruption means a reduction in ecological impact; great news for the planet, and for humanity’s future survival. Even a 50 percent decrease in industrial consumption or greenhouse gas emissions is a massive victory (especially considering that emissions have continued to rise in the face of all environmental activism so far), and that buys resisters—and everyone else—some time.

In the most optimistic parts of this hypothetical scenario, effective resistance induces those in power to negotiate or offer concessions. Once the resistance movement demonstrates the ability to use real strategy and force, it can’t be ignored. Those in power begin to knock down the doors of mainstream activists, begging to negotiate changes that would co-opt the resistance movements’ cause and reduce further actions.

In this version of the future, however, resistance groups truly begin to take the initiative. They understand that for most of the history of civilization, those in power have retained the initiative, forcing resistance groups or colonized people to stay on the defensive, to respond to attacks, to be constantly kept off balance. However, peak oil and systems disruption has caused a series of emergencies for those in power; some caused by organized resistance groups, some caused by civil unrest and shortages, and some caused by the social and ecological consequences of centuries—millennia—of exploitation. For perhaps the first time in history, those in power are globally off balance and occupied by worsening crisis after crisis. This provides a key opportunity for resistance groups, and autonomous cultures and communities, to seize and retain the initiative.

Objectives:

– Target key points of specific industrial and economic systems to disrupt and disable them.

– Effect a measurable decrease in industrial activity and industrial consumption.

– Enable concessions, negotiations, or social changes if applicable.

– Induce the collapse of particular companies, industries, or economic systems.

Operations:

– Mostly decisive and sustaining, but shaping where necessary for systems disruption. Cadres and combatants should be increasingly seasoned at this point, but the onset of decisive and serious action will mean a high attrition rate for resisters. There’s no point in being vague; the members of the resistance in this alternate future who are committed to militant resistance go in expecting that they will either end up dead or in jail. They know that anything better than that was a gift to be won through skill and luck.

Organization:

– Heavy use of underground networks required; operational coordination is a prerequisite for effective systems disruption.

– Recruitment is ongoing at this point; especially to recruit auxiliaries and to cope with losses due to attrition. However, during this phase there are multiple serious attempts at infiltration. The infiltrations are not as successful as they might have been, because underground networks have recruited heavily in previous stages (before large-scale action) to ensure the presence of a trusted group of leaders and cadres who form the backbone of the networks.

– Aboveground organizations are able to mobilize extensively because of various social, political, and material crises.

– At this point, militant resisters become concerned about backlash from people who should be on their side, such as many liberals, especially as those in power put pressure on aboveground activists.

PHASE IV: DECISIVE DISMANTLING OF INFRASTRUCTURE

Preamble: Decisive dismantling of infrastructure goes a step beyond systems disruption. The intent is to permanently dismantle as much of the fossil fuel–based industrial infrastructure as possible. This phase is the last resort; in the most optimistic projection, it would not be necessary: converging crises and infrastructure disruption would combine with vigorous aboveground movements to force those in power to accept social, political, and economic change; reductions in consumption would combine with a genuine and sincere attempt to transition to a sustainable culture.

But this optimistic projection is not probable. It is more likely that those in power (and many everyday people) will cling more to civilization even as it collapses. And likely, they will support authoritarianism if they think it will maintain their privilege and their entitlement.

The key issue—which we’ve come back to again and again—is time. We will soon reach (if we haven’t already reached) the trigger point of irreversible runaway global warming. The systems disruption phase of this hypothetical scenario offers selectivity. Disruptions in this scenario are engineered in a way that shifts the impact toward industry and attempts to minimize impacts on civilians. But industrial systems are heavily integrated with civilian infrastructure. If selective disruption doesn’t work soon enough, some resisters may conclude that all-out disruption is required to stop the planet from burning to a cinder.

The difference between phases III and IV of this scenario may appear subtle, since they both involve, on an operational level, coordinated actions to disrupt industrial systems on a large scale. But phase III requires some time to work—to weaken the system, to mobilize people and organizations, to build on a series of disruptive actions. Phase III also gives “fair warning” for regular people to prepare. Furthermore, phase III gives time for the resistance to develop itself logistically and organizationally, which is required to proceed to phase IV. The difference between the two phases is capacity and restraint. For resisters in this scenario to proceed from phase III to phase IV, they need two things: the organizational capacity to take on the scope of action required under phase IV, and the certainty that there is no longer any point in waiting for societal reforms to succeed on their own timetable.

In this scenario, both of those phases save lives, human and nonhuman alike. But if large-scale aboveground mobilization does not happen once collapse is underway, phase IV becomes the most effective way to save lives.

Imagine that you are riding in a streetcar through a city crowded with pedestrians. Inside the streetcar are the civilized humans, and outside is all the nonhuman life on the planet, and the humans who are not civilized, or who do not benefit from civilization, or who have yet to be born. Needless to say, those outside far outnumber the few of you inside the streetcar. But the driver of the streetcar is in a hurry, and is accelerating as fast as he can, plowing through the crowds, maiming and killing pedestrians en masse. Most of your fellow passengers don’t seem to particularly care; they’ve got somewhere to go, and they’re glad to be making progress regardless of the cost.

Some of the passengers seem upset by the situation. If the driver keeps accelerating, they observe, it’s possible that the streetcar will crash and the passengers will be injured. Not to worry, one man tells them. His calculations show that the bodies piling up in front of the streetcar will eventually slow the vehicle and cause it to safely come to a halt. Any intervention by the passengers would be reckless, and would surely provoke a reprimand from the driver. Worse, a troublesome passenger might be kicked off the streetcar and later run over by it.

You, unlike most passengers, are more concerned by the constant carnage outside than by the future safety of the streetcar passengers. And you know you have to do something. You could try to jump out the window and escape, but then the streetcar would plow on through the crowd, and you would lose any chance to intervene. So you decide to try to sabotage the streetcar from the inside, to cut the electrical wires, or pull up the flooring and activate the brakes by hand, or derail it, or do whatever you can.

As soon as the other passengers realize what you are doing, they’ll try to stop you, and maybe kill you. You have to decide whether you are going to stop the streetcar slowly or speedily. The streetcar is racing along so quickly now that if you stop it suddenly, it may fling the passengers against the seats in front of them or down the aisle. It may kill some of them. But if you stop it slowly, who knows how many innocent people will be struck by the streetcar while it is decelerating? And if you just slow it down, the driver may be able to repair the damage and get the streetcar going again.

So what do you do? If you choose to stop the streetcar as quickly as possible, then you have made the same choice as those who would implement phase IV. You’ve made the decision that stopping the destruction as rapidly as possible is more important than any particular program of reform. Of course, even in stopping the destruction as rapidly as possible, you can still take measures to reduce casualties on board the streetcar. You can tell people to sit down or buckle up or brace themselves for impact. Whether they will listen to you is another story, but that’s their responsibility, not yours.

It’s important to not misinterpret the point of phase IV of this alternate future scenario. The point is not to cause human casualties. The point is to stop the destruction of the planet. The enemy is not the civilian population—or any population at all—but a sociopathological sociopolitical and economic system. Ecological destruction on this planet is primarily caused by industry and capitalism; the issue of population is tertiary at best. The point of collapsing industrial infrastructure in this scenario is not to harm humans any more than the point of stopping the streetcar is to harm the passengers. The point is to reduce the damage as quickly as possible, and in doing so to account for the harm the dominant culture is doing to all living creatures, past and future.

This is not an easy phase for the abovegrounders. Part of their job in this scenario is also to help demolish infrastructure, but they are mostly demolishing exploitative political and economic infrastructure, not physical infrastructure. In general, they continue to do what they did in the previous phase, but on a larger scale and for the long term. Public support is directed to local, democratic, and just political and economic systems. Efforts are undertaken to deal with emergencies and cope with the nastier parts of collapse.

Objectives:

– Dismantle the critical physical infrastructure required for industrial civilization to function.

– Induce widespread industrial collapse, beyond any economic or political systems.

– Use continuing and coordinated actions to hamper repairs and replacement.

Operations:

– Focus almost exclusively on decisive and sustaining operations.

Organization:

– Requires well-developed militant underground networks.

Continue reading at Implementing Decisive Ecological Warfare.

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Groomed to Consume

[Link]  by Anja Lyngbaek / Local Futures

With Christmas coming up, household consumption will soon hit its yearly peak in many countries. Despite homely pictures of tranquility on mass-produced greeting cards, Christmas is more about frenzied shopping and overspending than peace on earth or quality time with family and friends. As with so much of our lives, the holidays have been hijacked by the idea that satisfaction, even happiness, is only one more purchase away.

Two generations ago, my Norwegian grandmother was overjoyed as a child when she received one modest gift and tasted an imported orange at Christmastime. In the modern era of long-distance trade and excess consumption, nobody gets even mildly excited by tasting a foreign fruit or receiving a small gift. Instead, adults dive into a cornucopia of global food (typically followed by a period of dieting) while children expect numerous expensive gifts – with designer clothes and electronic toys, games, and gadgets topping the list.

This comparison is not meant to romanticize the past or demean the present: it’s just a small example of how consumption has come to replace the things that give real meaning to our lives– like creating something with our own hands, or sharing and interacting with others. In the process, we have been robbed of the ability to take pleasure from small wonders.

Most of us are aware that excessive consumption is a prime feature of modern life, and that it is the cause of multiple social and environmental problems. We are living in a so-called “consumer culture” – a rather fancy title for something that has more in common with an abusive affliction, like bulimia or alcoholism, than it does with real living culture.

Rampant consumerism doesn’t happen by itself: it is encouraged by an economic system that requires perpetual economic growth. When national economies show signs of slowing down, citizens are invariably called upon to increase their consumption, which in a country like the US represents 70 percent of GDP. Curiously, when talk turns to the downside of consumerism – resource depletion, pollution, or shoppers trampled at Wal-Mart – it is the greed supposedly inherent in human nature that gets the blame. Rather than look at the role of corporate media, advertising, and other systemic causes of overconsumption, we are encouraged to keep shopping – but to do so “responsibly”, perhaps by engaging in “green consumerism”, a galling oxymoron.

I have no doubt that consumerism is linked with greed – greed for the latest model of computer, smartphone, clothes or car – but this has nothing to do with human nature. This sort of greed is an artificially induced condition. From early childhood our eyes, ears and minds have been flooded with images and messages that undermine our identity and self-esteem, create false needs, and teach us to seek satisfaction and approval through the consumer choices we make.

And the pressure to consume is rising, along with the amount of money spent on advertising. It is forecast that global advertising expenditure will hit $568 billion for 2018, a 7.4 percent increase over 2017.[1] According to UN figures, that amount of money would be sufficient to both eradicate extreme poverty and foot the bill for measures to mitigate the effects of climate change worldwide. [2]

Instead, we are “groomed to consume”. In the US, this means that the average young person is exposed to more than 3,000 ads per day on television, the internet, billboards and in magazines, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.[3] While the figure may be lower in other countries, people everywhere are increasingly exposed to advertising – particularly through the internet, which now has over 4 billion users globally.[4] In fact, half of the global “consumer-class” can now be found in the developing world. Although per capita consumption in China and India remains substantially less than in Europe, those two countries now consume more in total than all of Western Europe.[5]

Marketing strategies – advertising, celebrity trend-setting, product placement in movies and TV shows, marketing tie-ins between media and fast food franchises, etc. – have evolved to target an ever younger audience, all the way down to the one-year old, according to sociologist Juliet Schor. In her book Born to Buy, she defines “age compression” as the marketing to children of products that were previously designed for adults.[6] Examples include makeup for young girls, violent toys for small boys, and designer clothes for the first grader. Schor’s research shows that the more children are exposed to media and advertising, the more consumerist they become; it also shows that they are more likely to become depressed, anxious and develop low self-esteem in the process.

However, children can become victims of the corporate-induced consumer culture even without direct exposure to advertising and media, as I learned during a year spent in my native Denmark, together with my then 12-year old son. Prior to our stay in Denmark, we lived in rural Mexico with limited exposure to TV, internet and advertising, and surrounded by children from homes with dirt floors, wearing hand-me-down clothes. The need for designer wear and electronic gadgets had therefore never entered my son’s mind.

However, after a few months of trying to fit in with Danish children, he became a victim of fashion, exchanging his usual trousers for the trend of the time – narrow sleek pants with diaper bottoms that impeded proper movement. Soon, style alone wasn’t enough: the right brand name of clothes was added to the list of things required for happiness. The same process was repeated in other parts of life: in Mexico, play would consist of an array of invented games, but a month in Denmark was sufficient for my son to feel too ashamed to invite anyone home because he didn’t own an Xbox. During that year, he cried bitter tears over the absence of things that he had never lacked before – video games, Samsung galaxies, iPads and notebooks.

This rapid conversion of a unique individual into a global consumer wasn’t a direct result of advertising, but of the indirect influence of corporations on our minds and lives. The other children were as much victims as my own child, having to a large extent been robbed of the possibility to develop their own (corporate-free) identity and the imagination and creativity that comes with childhood.

Shifting away from a model based on ever increasing consumption is long overdue. On a personal level, we can take positive steps by disengaging from the consumer culture as much as possible, focusing instead on activities that bring true satisfaction – like face-to-face interaction, engaging in community and spending time in nature.

In our very small rural community in Mexico, we have tried to do just that in our daily lives. Christmas for us is a communal celebration running over several days, which includes lots of homegrown, cooked and baked foods, music, dancing and playing, both indoors and outdoors. A major part of the celebration is a gift exchange that celebrates our skills and creative powers. Rather than buying a multitude of gifts, we make one gift each to give to another person. Who we give to is decided in advance in a secret draw of names, not revealed until the exchange. For a month in advance, our community is buzzing with creative energy, as everybody – children and adults alike – is busy planning and making amazing gifts. Presenting our gift is the highlight of our celebration, even for the youngest. Thus the coin has been flipped from consumption to creation and from receiving to giving.

However, while personal changes like this matter, it is not enough to turn the tide: structural changes are also required.

Despite dwindling natural resources, increasing levels of pollution and CO2 emissions, and the many social costs of consumerism, no nation-state has yet been willing to renounce the economic growth model. This will not change until people pressure their governments to disengage from this economic model and to put the brakes on corporate control. This may sound undoable, but the current system is man-made and can be unmade. The trade treaties and agreements that favor corporations over nations, global over local, profit over people and planet, can be revoked and transformed. All it may take is an alliance of a few strategic countries willing to say “STOP”, to start a movement of nations willing to reclaim their economies.

When Jorge Mario Bergoglio was ordained Pope Francis, he came out with a public critique of the prevailing economic system that still rings true:

“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world… This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”[7]

Yet, the blind belief in the economic growth model is waning, as ever more people realize that the present economic model is playing havoc with people and planet. Even the strongest proponents of the current system are finding it harder to repeat the “more economic growth is the solution” mantra.

So let’s downscale consumption this Christmas and celebrate creativity, community and our shared home – planet earth. Rather than commit to dieting in the new year, let’s commit to joining the call for systemic change – away from a destructive global casino economy that concentrates power and wealth, towards place-based economies operating under democratic control and within ecological limits, with global wellbeing in mind.

[1] McNair, Corey, “Global Ad Spending”, eMarketer.com, May 4, 2018. https://www.emarketer.com/content/global-ad-spending

[2] State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015, in brief, UN http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4671e.pdf; Ritchie, Hannah, “How much will it cost to mitigate climate change?”, Our World in Data, May 27, 2017. https://ourworldindata.org/how-much-will-it-cost-to-mitigate-climate-change

[3] “Children, Adolescents, and Advertising: Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, vol. 118, number 6 http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/6/2563.full

[4] “Usage and Population Statistics”, Internet World Stats, https://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

[5] “The State of Consumption Today”. Worldwatch Institute. http://www.worldwatch.org/node/810

[6] Schor, Juliet B., Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture” (2004).

[7] Goldfarb, Z. and Michelle Boorstein, “Pope Francis denounces ‘trickle-down’ economic theories in critique of inequality”. The Washington Post. November 26, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/pope-francis-denounces-trickle-down-economic-theories-in-critique-of-inequality/2013/11/26/e17ffe4e-56b6-11e3-8304-caf30787c0a9_story.html

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Political Education for the Poor – An Advocacy for a New Political Awareness

[Link] by Stroke

Coming to a political consciousness is not a painless task. To overcome denial means facing the everyday, normative cruelty of a whole society, a society made up of millions of people who are participating in that cruelty, and if not directly, then as bystanders with benefits. A friend of mine who grew up in extreme poverty recalled becoming politicized during her first year in college, a year of anguish over the simple fact that “there were rich people and there were poor people, and there was a relationship between the two.” You may have to face full-on the painful experiences you denied in order to survive, and even the humiliation of your own collusion. But knowledge of oppression starts from the bedrock that subordination is wrong and resistance is possible. The acquired skill of analysis can be psychologically and even spiritually freeing.

– Lierre Keith

Strictly speaking, all of my problems, the whole drama of my life and suffering, can be summarized in one word: poverty.

From birth, it seems to have been my destiny, the element that determines my life the most. I really don’t want to see myself as a victim. But I can no longer accept the widespread opinion (one could also call it dominant ideology) that everyone is responsible for his or her own destiny; that everyone can make it, if he or she only strives and works hard enough. Because this is simply wrong.

I have tried seriously for many years to gain a foothold in the world of work. I am smart, educated, have a well-groomed appearance, and two academic degrees. But it’s not my fault.

My “mistake” was merely to enter the “labour market” shortly after the introduction of Gerhard Schroeder’s Agenda 2010 and the associated Hartz “reforms”.

What the poor need to understand, is that poverty is a political goal, because poverty is a fundamental pillar of capitalism.

Money, at least in theory, is nothing more than a means of exchange. But as it is used in reality, it is an ideological instrument of power with a quasi-religious character which is used with increasing brutality.

As Max Wilbert writes in a recent interview, “The world today is being run by people who believe in money as a god. They’re insane, but they have vast power, and they’re using that power in the real world. That’s the physical manifestation of their violent, corrupt ideology.”

In his book Endgame, the writer Derrick Jensen radically deconstructs the “religion” of money. He writes: “There are no rich people in the world, and there are no poor people. There are just people. The rich may have lots of pieces of green paper that many pretend are worth something—or their presumed riches may be even more abstract: numbers on hard drives at banks—and the poor may not. These “rich” claim they own land, and the “poor” are often denied the right to make that same claim. A primary purpose of the police is to enforce the delusions of those with lots of pieces of green paper. Those without the green papers generally buy into these delusions almost as quickly and completely as those with. These delusions carry with them extreme consequences in the real world.”

Money is power. Poverty is an immaterial prison. And the Hartz-laws, with the contemptuous ideology and systematic agitation (classism) behind them, are an immaterial concentration camp.

Welcome to fascism 2.0, the smart fascism of the 21st century.

First of all: I am aware that the comparison with the concentration camps is sensitive. In no way do I want to trivialize the horror of the physical Nazi concentration camps. Under no circumstances should this comparison be understood as a disregard for the suffering of the victims and their descendants.

I am talking about an immaterial concentration camp to make it clear that this time it is mainly ideological walls in which the inmates are held prisoner.

This ideology, however, has some functional parallels with the real concentration camps. And these practices have been incorporated into a legal framework in German legislation, namely the SGB II, colloquially called Hartz Laws.

Expropriation: Whoever ends up in the immaterial concentration camp HartzIV is systematically expropriated. He/she is forced to sell any “usable property”, including saved retirement provisions. Without Newspeech one could also simply say: They are robbed.

Disenfranchisement: Rights enshrined in the German Basic Law, such as the right to freedom of movement and free choice of occupation, no longer apply. “HartzIV is an open prison system,” says entrepreneur Götz Werner. In fact, HartzIV recipients are subject to the so-called “Accessibility Order”, i.e. they must be reachable at any time by letter post in order to be able to come to the authority the next day and immediately be available for a job offer.

Forced labour: HartzIV recipients must accept any “reasonable work” under threat of sanctions. The journalist Susan Bonath writes about this: “The unemployed, for example, were assigned to do clean-up work or collect garbage in cities, they had to maintain green spaces and monuments or to read aloud in nursing homes. All models had and have one thing in common: those affected work at extremely low wages, from which they alone cannot live. Compulsory work models for outsourced workers are not inventions of modern capitalists. Let us recall the workhouses whose history stretches from the early modern period to the industrial age. The German fascists established the Reich Labour Service. The aim of those in power behind it is clear: they wanted to make the unemployment that was increasingly produced in times of crisis invisible and – more or less brutally – to prevent those affected through employment from thinking about their situation.”

There have been cases where women have been advised by the authorities to prostitute themselves, because – thanks also to Gerhard Schröder – this is now nothing more than a legal job in the service sector.

Demoralization: Recipients are regularly summoned to appointments under threat of sanctions and interrogated like criminals, furthermore demoralized with the apportionment of blame and shame to be “difficult to mediate”. The institutions are operating a perfidious psycho-terror in order to scare their victims (called “customers” in neoliberal Newspeech) and systematically demoralize them. With the words of anti-HartzIV activist Manfred Bartl: “At no point is it really about ‘the human being’, but about either breaking him or her and/or making him or her identify with his ongoing oppression. But where this succeeds, nobody resists against this regime any more, because then everyone believes it: I am obviously to blame myself, I have experienced it often enough in the meantime…hence the problem of mass unemployment are not the unemployed, who only had to be “improved”, as the Hartz IV regime repeatedly circulates, but it’s the increasingly inhuman “labour market” on the one hand and the Social Code II, which literally keeps them out, on the other!

Exclusion, stigmatization and the creation of a new class of people: Indeed, the entire design of the HartzIV ideological concentration camp aims to create a new class of people in Germany who did not previously exist in this way. And it aims to keep the new lower class powerless and dependent. Resistance is suffocated from the outset by a perfidious, sophisticated mixture of ideology, class division through systematic propaganda in the corporate media, the greatest possible economic dependence and the permanent fear of those affected through the threat of sanctions.

Philosopher Byung-Chul Han, who studies the neoliberal psycho politics, comments: “It’s madness how scared the Hartz people live here. They are held in this bannoptikum, (a panopticon is a type of institutional building and a system of control designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. It is a design where a guard can watch all the prisoners from the middle. The term panopticon is nowadays used as a synonym for the global mass surveillance. A bannopticon in this sense is a prison in which the inmates are banned, becoming invisible for the public) so that they do not break out of their fear-cell. I know many Hartzer, they are treated like garbage. In one of the richest countries in the world, Germany, people are treated like scum. Dignity is taken away from them. Of course, these people do not protest because they are ashamed. They blame themselves instead of blaming or accusing society. No political action can be expected from this class.”

With the new class, the institutions created by the Hartz laws administer an army of workers who are supplied at the lowest level and who must be available, mobile, and flexible as possible at all times for any form of work. As such they exert enormous pressure on those who still have regular jobs. The Agenda 2010 was therefore also an effective instrument for wage dumping and the creation of a new, gigantic low-wage sector, for which Gerhard Schröder received great praise from his colleagues from France and other European countries.

The declared aim of the institutions (Newspeech Jobcenter) is to provide the unemployed with jobs that secure their livelihood, i.e. to get them out of unemployment (and thus out of unemployment statistics) as quickly as possible. However, this goal is nothing more that another of the usual neoliberal lies. In reality, very few people manage to escape from dependence. The authorities thus also administer a large part of the working poor, who work, but whose wages are below the HartzIV level. They fall out of the official statistics, but remain dependent and under the full control of the authorities with all the measures mentioned above.

The propaganda often proves to be a self-fulfilling prophecy for the new class in a familiar way: derided as lazy alcoholics, many actually end up as apathetic alcoholics in order to endure their hopeless existence.

This is indeed a contemptuous treatment of a class of people who are no longer worth anything in our culture. They are superfluous, rubbish, rejects, waste. We‘ve seen this before.

It’s therefore not surprising that HartzIV recipients have a significantly increased stress level. Physicians know that chronic stress is one of the most common causes of life-threatening cardiovascular disease and strokes. Those who die of stress and anxiety or end up in the medical-industrial complex are excluded from unemployment statistics. This is how concentration camps work today.

But in smart fascism 2.0, violence is ideologically much better packaged and gets along without its direct physical forms, because direct, physical violence always generates resistance, which the system must suppress or avoid.

The modern ruling class no longer needs to get their hands dirty. Instead, they use what Rainer Mausfeld calls “Soft Power”:

“The most important goal is to neutralize the will of the population to change society, or to divert attention to politically irrelevant goals. In order to achieve this in the most robust and consistent way possible, manipulation techniques aim at much more than just political opinions. They aim at a targeted shaping of all aspects that affect our political, social and cultural life, as well as our individual ways of life. To a certain extent, they aim to create a ‘new human being’ whose social life merges into the role of the politically apathetic consumer. In this sense they are totalitarian, so that the great democracy-theorist Sheldon Wolin rightly speaks of an ‘inverted totalitarianism’, a new form of totalitarianism that is not perceived by the population as totalitarianism.”

One cannot understand our society, or rather what is left of it, without realizing that it consists of social groups or classes. Capitalist/neoliberal ideology says that there are no classes or groups, not even society.

“Who is society? There is no such thing!” said the Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher. Within neoliberal ideology, there are only individuals who (must) assert their own interests on the market. Meanwhile, the ideology, as promoted by Thatcher, has indeed managed to completely atomize what was left of society and to transform it into an aggregate of totally isolated and alienated individuals who compete with each other on the labor market and passionately exploit themselves, while those below languish inside the immaterial prison poverty, or the Hartz-concentration camp.

The ideology is deeply hammered into our heads. We have been taught to feel so much shame about our failure that we do not resist. Instead, we submit to these modern forms of slavery and forced labor. The systematic hatred between classes makes it so that the intellectuals and the middle class, who would have the moral duty to show solidarity with the lower classes and to reject such systematic oppression, are, unfortunately, mostly followers and accept the modern concentration camps, just as the good Germans already did in the past. They could have (must have!) got up, back then as well as now, and said: We are not going with that!

Many people (at least in Germany) still tend to regard the legal system and executive authorities as something positive, as institutions created to serve and help the population. In the meantime, neoliberal Newspeak prevails here as well. Laws and authorities are increasingly created and used as instruments of exploitation and oppression.

“Law organizes power”, as lawyer Catherine McKinnon puts it.

The social reality of the lower classes, of those imprisoned in poverty or HartzIV cannot (and shall not) be understood by the upper classes, the well-earning doctors, lawyers, judges and so on, and the middle class, which, indoctrinated by the neoliberal ideology, passionately exploits itself. Therefore, these classes are easily accessible to the agitation and classism practiced by those in power. Just as there was little resistance in the population against the concentration camps at that time, there is little resistance today against the mass impoverishment, oppression and systematic exploitation of large sections of the population with the Hartz laws.

As Susan Bonath writes, “the Macron government in France is also planning massive social cuts. And it wants to spy on the unemployed in a similar way to Germany. Therefore, the Paris Ministry of Labour recently announced, the administrative staff would be increased. Instead of 200, 1,000 inspectors will in future be released onto the unemployed. The goal of the agenda of those in power here and there is clear: employees will be muzzled. They should stay still for fear of relegation. The servitude of the 21st century sends its greetings.”

Before the Macron government could push its “reforms” as far as the Schröder government did in Germany, masses of poor people are already taking to the streets in France and other countries. The yellow warning vests they wear are a powerful symbol of a united resistance of the poor and economically detached.

If you currently walk around Heidelberg, where I live, a rich and rather elitist university town, with a yellow vest, people look at you like a criminal. “Working class”, their looks say, “underclass”, “dirt”.

Before putting on the vest I had unfortunately forgotten that (even symbolic) resistance, which is merely a struggle for our basic rights and livelihoods, is prohibited in the highly conformist German society, which is effectively policing itself by social norms. “Inverted totalitarianism” indeed.

The usual self-righteous, dismissive commentaries of the bourgeoisie on the violence of the insurgents are blind to the inherent forms of systematic economic and structural violence deeply rooted in our social system, against which the poor and economically detached with the yellow vests resist. They do not want to see that our society “is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.”

I just heard from an activist who got a visit from the Criminal Investigation Department because she had a yellow vest hanging from her balcony. She was told by the police that it is “not okay for someone to show one’s political opinion like that”.

Welcome to Fascism 2.0.

It is time for a global uprising of the poor. Our common goal must be to deprive the rich of their ability to steal from the poor and the powerful of their ability to destroy the planet.

Stand up.

1 Aric McBay, Lierre Keith and Derrick Jensen (2011): Deep Green Resistance: Stategy to Save the Planet S. 73

2 I‘d describe the German HartzIV-laws to the English-speaking public merely as a kind of poverty management. To quote Wikipedia: „The unemployment benefit II (colloquially mostly Hartz IV) is the basic security benefit for employable beneficiaries in Germany according to the Second Book of the Social Code (SGB II)…However, it can be shortened or completely deleted by permissible sanctions; the subsistence minimum is not paid unconditionally.“

3 Derrick Jensen (2006) Endgame Vol 1: The Problem of Civilization p. XI

4 https://www.rubikon.news/artikel/der-andere-krieg (translated from German) 

5 “The prostitution law now in force came into being under the red-green government of Gerhard Schröder (SPD) and has been in force since January 2002. It is considered to be one of the most liberal in the world – which earned him the accusation of having made Germany the “brothel of Europe”. Since 2002, sex work has no longer been regarded as “immoral”, but as a service. Prostitutes have the opportunity to register for health insurance, pension and unemployment insurance. Two years earlier, Sweden had banned prostitution; since then, customers of sex work are criminalized.”

https://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/prostitutionsgesetz-guetesiegel-fuer-bordelle/10334474.htmlie (translated from German)

6 https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=25168 (translated from German)

7 Interview Zeit Online: https://www.zeit.de/zeit-wissen/2014/05/byung-chul-han-philosophie-neoliberalismus (translated from German)

8 Rainer Mausfeld (2018): Warum schweigen die Lämmer? p. 17f (translated from German)

9 https://www.rubikon.news/artikel/der-andere-krieg (translated from German)

10 Derrick Jensen (2006) Endgame Vol 1: The Problem of Civilization p. IX

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Contact Deep Green Resistance News Service

[Link] To repost DGR original writings or talk with us about anything else, you can contact the Deep Green Resistance News Service by email, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

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Further news and recommended reading / podcasts

Resistance Radio w/ Nathan Varley – January 6, 2019

Resistance Radio w/ Renee Gerlich – December 16, 2018

Resistance Radio w/ Jonathan Latham – December 23, 2018

Resistance Radio w/ Meghan Murphy – December 30, 2018

U.S. Navy Land Grab for Bombing in Nevada

Cliff Mass Isn’t a Climate Denier—But Deniers Sure Love Him

The Legacy of ‘Oka’ and the Future of Indigenous Resistance

Old Mother Forest

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How to support DGR or get involved

Guide to taking action

Bring DGR to your community to provide training

Become a member

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As long as the enemy is not defeated, I have to apprehend that he may defeat me, then I shall be no longer my own master, but he will dictate the law to me as I did to him. This is the second reciprocal action and leads to a second extreme (second reciprocal action).

–      Carl von Clausewitz

 

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