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An Open Letter to Fellow Environmentalists

By Alex Rose / Deep Green Resistance Redwood Coast

By Alex Rose / Deep Green Resistance Redwood Coast

The earth isn’t dying; it is being killed. And “clean energy” will only make things worse.

I should probably begin by introducing myself; my name is Alex, and I’m a recovering renewable energy advocate. For years, I was a victim of desperation and hope; I petitioned and parlayed, chanted and canvassed; I brimmed with excitement at the prospect of “green jobs” and a “renewable energy economy.” I still see much of myself in many of you.

I know what it’s like. I know exactly how it feels to look around and see a world not just dying but being suffocated, being tortured and maimed, sacrificed on the twin altars of profit and production. As a young person today, I know what it’s like to fear the future, to fear for my future. I—like many of you—have read all the studies and reports I need to see to know what’s coming, what disaster is now screaming, all but unchallenged, down the track upon us.

I know what it’s like to want a way out, a path from this desert of despair to something, anything that will shift us from the deadly course our society is on, some simple solution, the kind of sane idea that even a politician could support.

Like many of you, for years I thought “clean energy” was the answer to the despair that weighs heavier on our collective shoulders and conscience every day. It seemed realistic. It seemed achievable. It seemed aesthetic. And most importantly, I thought it would save the planet.

And I was dedicated whole-heartedly. When I was 14, I volunteered with The Climate Project, a grassroots climate-education initiative created by Al Gore to “awake the masses” to the threat of global warming. I went to classrooms, churches and community centers for years, preaching the good gospel of “green” energy, that we just needed to elect some compassionate democrats. I wrote letters to the editor, hoping to inspire people to be climate voters. I went to city council to beg, and organized protests to demand that the authorities swap the local coal plant for some 21st century renewable energy.

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Time is Short: Stop the Flows, Stop the Machine

By Alex Rose / Deep Green Resistance Redwood Coast

By Alex Rose / Deep Green Resistance Redwood Coast

Industrial civilization is killing the planet. It is, by its very nature, entirely dependent upon tearing & rending apart the fabric of the living world for the raw materials which sustain industrial society. As civilization fells ever more forests, blows apart ever more mountains, dams ever more rivers, vacuums ever more fisheries, drains ever more wetlands, plows ever more prairies, and replaces ever more of the natural world with concrete and fields growing food for solely human use, the bloody hands of empire must reach ever further afield to grasp for new pockets of wilderness to seize.

As industrial society becomes more and more globalized, so too does industrial destruction. Wild places that may once have been too remote to access find the crushing weight of civilization brought to bear upon them.

While the reach and presence of this way of life accelerate around the planet, the privileges and material prosperities afforded by its war against life remain the property of a small minority at the center of empire. It is to this center that the overwhelming portions of planetary plunder flow. It’s coded into the way empires—and civilizations—operate. The center of power conquers outlying lands, colonizing them and forcefully extracting resources, which flow back to feed the bloated power base.

The pattern is the same, whether we’re talking about cities extracting food via agriculture from the surrounding lands or the global economy extracting oil, steel, wood, etc. from the Global South. It is the same dynamic of empire—of colonies and conquerors. We may rationalize the pattern through complex social and economic theory, but it doesn’t change the underlying relationship of exploiter and exploited.

Central to the smooth function of this way of life are the logistics and transportation necessary to physically transport those materials from the site of extraction to the center of empire. The global economy is incredibly complex, so much so that how exactly it operates in the physical world may seem inexplicable, and only comprehensible in the abstract. But despite this, there are very specific infrastructures—foundations of support—that are fundamental to its function. The infrastructure of globalized transportation and logistics is among these; without them, the precarious balance of industrial society would collapse.

In the incessant drive towards ever-greater efficiency—the drive to expand “economic production” (read the conversion of living landbases into private wealth) beyond any limitations—the industrial economy is becoming ever more dependent upon fast-paced transportation and logistics. It’s why most grocery stores only have a 72 hour supply of food in-store. By reducing inventory capacity and relying upon “Just-in-Time” transportation systems, industrialism has accelerated its pace, but at the expense of its stability.

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Time is Short: Militant Mining Resistance

By Alex Rose / Deep Green Resistance Redwood Coast

By Alex Rose / Deep Green Resistance Redwood Coast

Mining is one of the most viscerally destructive and horrific ways in which the dominant culture—industrial civilization—enacts its violence on the living world. As entirely and unequivocally destructive as this society is, few other industrial activities are as horrifically confronting as mining. Whole landscapes are cleared of life as communities—most often indigenous or poor—are forced from their homes. Mountains level to piles of barren rubble which leach countless poisons, scouring life from whole watersheds. Pits of unimaginable size are carved from the bones of the earth, leaving moonscapes in their wake.

Besides the immediate damage to the land at the site of operations, the destruction extends through the uses its products are put to. In this way, mining is crucial to the continued function of industrial civilization, supplying many of the raw materials that form the material fabric of industrial society. Steel, aluminum, copper, coal, tar sands bitumen, cement; the materials extracted through mining are central components of industrial civilization in an immediate and physical way. They are the building blocks of this society.

Fortunately, as is the way of things, where there is atrocity and brutalization, there is resistance. There has been a lot of militant anti-mining action happening recently; in the last few months alone there have been several inspiring incidents of people taking direct militant action against mining projects and infrastructure.

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Time is Short: Nonviolence Can Work, But Not for Us

By Alex Rose / Deep Green Resistance Redwood Coast

By Alex Rose / Deep Green Resistance Redwood Coast

By now we should all be familiar with what’s at stake. The horrific statistics—200 species driven extinct daily, every child born with hundreds of toxic chemicals already in their bodies, every living system on the planet in decline—haunt us as we go about our work in a world that refuses to hear, listen, or act on them. After decades of traditional organizing and activist work, we’re beginning to come to terms with the need for a dramatic shift in strategy and tactics, and indeed in how we conceptualize the task before us.

It is not enough any longer (if it ever was) to build a reformist social movement, one more faction among many attempting to fix the failings within our society. With industrial civilization literally tearing apart the biosphere and skinning the planet alive, we can afford no other goal than to build a resistance movement capable of—and determined to succeed in—bringing down industrial civilization, by any means necessary.

We know this will require decisive underground action to be successful, and starting all but from scratch, this begins with promoting the need for militant resistance; trying to garner acceptance and normalization of the fact that without militant resistance—including sabotage and direct attacks on key nodes of industrial infrastructure—there is little, if any, hope that earth will survive much longer.

However, the pervasive ideology of the dominant culture leaves most of its members unwilling to even consider dialogue on the topic of militant resistance, much less adopting it as a strategy. One manifestation of this is the all-too-widely held belief that nonviolent resistance is always more effective than violent resistance.

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