Aboveground Strategy

Aboveground Work of Deep Green Resistance (DGR) Action Groups


We recognize that DGR will never become a mainstream movement within any industrial nation. But our aim is not to build a mass movement or to change consciousness on a broad scale. Our goal is to stop the destruction of our planet while there is still something left alive.

The fight to save life on this planet requires the work of both aboveground and underground groups. These groups will complement each other’s efforts without having direct contact. For aboveground groups, there is critical work to be done within the boundaries of the law. This work ranges from immediate actions that confront power and disrupt industrial destruction, to long-term efforts that aim to ensure the growth of a multi-generational grassroots movement.

Goals of the DGR Aboveground Movement

The primary goal of the DGR aboveground movement is to shift the political conditions in the dominant culture broadly enough that the dismantling of industrial civilization will succeed in time to save the planet and all of its species.

Toward that end, we need to create a worldwide culture of resistance consisting of thousands of DGR Action Groups. The initial phase is igniting and building that culture of resistance.

A culture of resistance is not a mere alternative for alienated dissidents. Instead, it consciously embraces its purpose as the cradle of a resistance movement. It exists to encourage and promote organized political resistance, nurturing the will to fight. It helps people break their psychological identification with the oppressive system and create a new identity based on self-respect and solidarity. It offers the emotional support of a functioning community that believes in resistance as well as an intellectually vibrant atmosphere that encourages analysis, discussion, and the development of political consciousness. It produces cultural products like poems, songs, and art that create a mythic matrix organized around the theme of resistance. It builds the new institutions that will take over as the corrupt ones come down. And it provides loyalty and material support to the aboveground frontline resisters and political prisoners.

We propose that DGR Action Groups attempt the following:

1. Engage in direct action campaigns using tactics based on nonviolent civil disobedience to protect ecosystems and species and to disrupt the core institutions of industrial civilization.

2. Make DGR known to its target audience through movement-building work:

  • Build awareness of and support for DGR principles and strategies across the environmental and social justice movements.
  • Ally with organizations that have overlapping goals.
  • Garner acceptance of DGR amongst prominent groups and individuals.

3. Shift public opinion toward supporting an underground that exists or may come to exist.

4. Facilitate the transfer of allegiance and material sustenance from the dominant socio-economic system to the land and all who live there.

Starting/Joining A DGR Action Group

The following are the steps for forming a DGR Action Group.

1. Read Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet and other books from DGR-I’s (DGR International, aka the international coordinating office) reading list. Make sure everyone who wants to form the initial group agrees with DGR as a strategy.

2. Choose a representative to be the regional contact. This person must agree to adhere to the DGR Statement of Principles and Code of Conduct to initiate a relationship with the coordinating office. They will then receive educational materials, recruiting information, and contacts for others in their region.

3. All members of the DGR Action Group must also agree to adhere to the Statement of Principles and Code of Conduct. All DGR Action Groups are autonomous as long as their actions fall within the framework of the Statement of Principles and Code of Conduct.

4. All members should read the security culture documents and commit to adhering to security culture practices. A security culture training is required as soon as possible after forming a group and periodically conducted again as new members join.

5. Familiarize yourselves with the materials from the coordinating office. They have information packets on everything from methods of effective organizing to ideas on staying alert to oppressive behaviors within your group.

First Steps: The Initial Work of DGR Action Groups

1. Promote

  • Develop promotional materials/events about DGR for your area. The coordinating office has a general DGR flyer, along with other materials, in the info packet to support you. Distribute materials online and in local venues.
  • Set up an information/discussion session on DGR or hold a discussion group to read the DGR book or portions of the DGR website.
  • Speak, flyer or table at environmental and social justice events
  • Organize a screening of the film End:Civ.
  • Have Derrick, Lierre, and/or Aric interviewed by local media to publicize your group

2. Protect

  • Choose a creek, river, or other natural area to care for, restore, and protect. Do this on a regular basis.

3. Build

  • Find existing local groups that have some overlap with DGR goals and strategies and support them. Don’t waste energy trying to create something that already exists in your area.

Our primary allies should be groups fighting for indigenous rights. If indigenous groups in your area are radical and are demanding the right to live in traditional ways on traditional lands, take instructions from them. They are the ones with knowledge (even if fragmented) of how to live sustainably in your bioregion.

Other groups who may make good allies:

  • Women s defense (like San Francisco Women Against Rape)
  • Eco-defense (Buffalo Field Campaign and Rising Tide)
  • Eco/social justice groups (GreenAction)
  • Anti-racist groups (Justice for Oscar Grant/United for Equality & Affirmative Action Legal Defense Fund)
  • Anti-corporate groups (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund)
  • Transition Town groups and pro-autonomy groups (The Second Vermont Republic)
  • Consider approaching select national organizations that have mission statements that align with DGR principles. You’ll need to weigh the potential benefits against the energy and time needed to make change in large organizations.

4. Speak

  • Do interviews on the radio (or start your own radio stations), write columns for newspapers (or start your own papers), or create a zine or website to promote your DGR group and DGR principles. Speaking in public about DGR can be difficult. In preparation, group members should regularly practice public speaking. It’s particularly useful to stage mock Q & A sessions to simulate real dialogue.

5. Fund

  • Fundraising should be a regular activity for an action group. This money can be used internally for local programs or channeled to other organizations.

6. Support

  • Do regular support for political prisoners. Establish ongoing correspondences with prisoners, keep them connected to the outer world, and help them in whatever ways you can. Additional work includes fundraising for legal defense, sending books, and attending trials.

Long-Term Work of DGR Action Groups

Some DGR groups will need to take on the next level of movement building, political organizing, and community defense work. Depending on their location, community make-up and skills, groups may need to diversify their work significantly.

1. Plan

Decide on the primary tasks to protect your landbase: what or who is destroying the place where you live? How can you stop them? And how can the destruction be repaired? Create a Bioregional Action Plan (BAP) outlining this work.

Don’t lose sight of the primary purpose: Does your BAP begin to dismantle the core institutions of industrial civilization that are assaulting the life systems of the planet? These core institutions are primarily agriculture, energy (oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear), extractive industries (mining, logging, commercial fishing), and power structures (corporations, military, government). One community might decide to transition to local food systems while confronting industrial agriculture and corporate domination of food systems in their area. Others might start a campaign to shut down refineries and pipelines through civil disobedience and legal challenges. Others may take on ending corporate personhood in their municipality, and then attempt a phased-in ban on new businesses that aren’t local, human-scale, and non-extractive cottage industries.

Crucial to a BAP is determining the carrying capacity for your bioregion in its current weakened condition and what it would be if returned to a pre-civilized state. Lay out a plan for a transition from an urban- or agriculture-dominated landscape to restored land with biotic communities of perennial polycultures and their animal cohorts.

2. Educate

Hold regular forums and teach-ins to explain the A to B transition from an extractive economy to a life-affirming society. This education is going to have to be relentless. Find ways to offer support to your community in combination with these meetings. What would make it more possible for people of all means to attend? Carpools, food, childcare, and friendship go a long way.

3. Activate

Confront the forces that are destroying your community. Coordinate campaigns to dismantle their power. These actions must not be symbolic but instead have a material impact to stop the destruction and institute true justice for all living creatures. Actions can include lobbying, demonstrations, and civil disobedience coordinated into a serious political and economic force. Run for public office on a DGR platform or on issues like autonomy, direct democracy, the abolishment of corporate personhood, or stopping the destruction of the commons. The right wing has been highly successful at winning public offices and our side can’t afford to withdraw. Take over the governing institutions and make them accountable to your community and your planet. Consider forming a true people’s militia to defend your community.

4. Network

Eventually, DGR Action Groups will become part of a larger, international DGR Network. This network can begin thinking and planning nationally and internationally.

Relationship with Militant Underground Resistance

One of the Action Groups’ primary purposes is to create favorable public opinion for a DGR underground that exists or may come to exist, by promoting the DGR strategy, explaining the value of a DGR underground, and publicizing DGR underground actions through the DGR Underground Press Office.

The DGR Underground Press Office is a legal, aboveground news service dedicated to publicizing the actions of a DGR underground that exists or may come to exist.

The Press Office receives anonymous news from a DGR underground and distributes it. They have no direct contact with a DGR underground.

Statement of Responsibility and Association

Deep Green Resistance aboveground individuals, the authors of the book Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet, members of DGR Action Groups, and members of the DGR movement as a whole, are not responsible for any actions other than their own personal actions.

All DGR groups and their members are required to adhere to the Statement of Principles and Code of Conduct in order to call themselves Deep Green Resistance. Any aboveground person or group calling themselves DGR and acting against the Statement of Principles and Code of Conduct do not have the support, collaboration, consent, or approval, of DGR or anyone associated with DGR and will not be allowed to call themselves DGR.

Any underground individuals or groups and their actions, if they exist or come to exist, represent only themselves. No DGR aboveground group or individual knows, or wants to know, anyone or any group that is underground or wants to know about any underground actions before they happen. No DGR aboveground group or individual wants to be involved with any underground actions in any way. For everyone’s safety, aboveground organizers need to avoid anyone who directly incites or participates in underground action, or who advocates underground action in a reckless manner or manner that violates security culture.

Phase I: Networking & Mobilization
Phase II: Sabotage & Asymmetric Action
Phase III: Systems Disruption
Phase IV: Decisive Dismantling of Infrastructure
Implementing Decisive Ecological Warfare

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