Categories Archives: The Solution: Resistance

Time is Short: Resistance Rewritten, Part II

By Lexy Garza and Rachel Ivey / Deep Green Resistance

By Lexy Garza and Rachel Ivey / Deep Green Resistance

This is the second part of a two piece series on strategic resistance. Read Part I here.

Humans are storytelling creatures, and our current strategy as a movement is a story, with a beginning, middle, and end.  We need to ask whether that story matches up with reality, and with the way social change has happened throughout history.

So here’s the story as it stands:

  • By raising awareness about the issues, we will create a shift in consciousness.
  • A shift in consciousness will spark a mass movement.
  • A mass movement can successfully end the murder of the planet by using exclusively pacifist tactics.

We all know this narrative, we hear it referenced all the time, and it resonates with a lot of people, but we need to examine it with a critical eye along with the historical narratives that are used to back it up. There are truths behind these ideas, but there is also the omission of truth, and we can decipher the interests of the historian by reading between the lines. Let’s take each piece of this narrative in turn to try and find out what’s been omitted and those interests that omission may be concealing.

So let’s start with the idea of “a shift in consciousness.”  The idea that we can educate society into a new and different state of consciousness has been popularized most recently by writers like David Korten, who bases his analysis on the idea:

“The term The Great Turning has come into widespread use to describe the awakening of a higher level of human consciousness and a human turn from an era of violence against people and nature to a new era of peace, justice and environmental restoration.”

Another way that this idea is often mentioned is in the form of the Hundredth Monkey myth. A primatologist named Lyall Watson wrote about a supposed phenomenon where monkeys on one island began teaching each other to wash sweet potatoes in the ocean before eating them. Myth has it that once the hundredth monkey learned to do it, monkeys on other islands who had no contact with the original potato washing monkeys spontaneously began washing potatoes, exhibiting a kind of tipping point or collective jump in consciousness. The existence of this phenomenon has been thoroughly debunked, and even Watson himself has admitted that he fabricated the myth using “very slim evidence and a great deal of hearsay.” This hasn’t stopped optimistic environmentalists from invoking the hundredth monkey phenomenon to defend the idea that through raising our collective consciousness, by getting through to that hundredth monkey, we’ll spark a great turning of humankind away from the behaviors that are killing the planet.

Unfortunately, this line of thinking doesn’t pan out historically. Let’s take the example of resistance against the Nazi regime and the genocide it committed. And let’s look at some omitted historical information. In 1952, after the Nuremberg Trials, after all of the information about the atrocities of the holocaust had become common knowledge, still only 20% of German citizens thought that resistance was justifiable during wartime which, under the Nazis or any other empire, is all the time. And mind you, the question was not whether they personally would participate in the resistance; it was whether they thought any resistance by anyone was justifiable.

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Action Camp Shuts Down Site of First U.S. Tar Sands Mine

By Peaceful Uprising

By Peaceful Uprising

Bookcliffs Range, Utah – Dozens of individuals peacefully disrupted road construction and stopped operations on Monday at the site of a proposed tar sands mine in the Bookcliffs range of southeastern Utah. Earlier this morning, Utahns joined members of indigenous tribes from the Four Corners region and allies from across the country for a water ceremony inside the mine site on the East Tavaputs Plateau. Following the ceremony, a group continued to stop work at the mine site while others halted road construction, surrounding heavy machinery with banners reading “Respect Existence or Expect Existence” and “Tar Sands Wrecks Lands”.

Indigenous people lead everyone to bless the water and pray for the injured land at the site of the tar sands test pit where work was stopped.

“The proposed tar sands and oil shale mines in Utah threaten nearly 40 million people who rely on the precious Colorado River System for their life and livelihood,” said Emily Stock, a seventh generation Utahn from Grand County, and organizer with Canyon Country Rising Tide. “The devastating consequence of dirty energy extraction knows no borders, and we stand together to protect and defend the rights of all communities, human and non-human,” Stock said.

Monday’s events are the culmination of a weeklong Canyon Country Action Camp, where people from the Colorado Plateau and across the nation gathered to share skills in civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action. Utah’s action training camp and today’s action are affiliated with both Fearless Summer and Summer Heat, two networks coordinating solidarity actions against the fossil fuel industry’s dirty energy extraction during the hottest weeks of the year.

“Impacted communities are banding together to stop Utah’s development of tar sands and oil shale.  We stand in solidarity because we know that marginalized communities at points of extraction, transportation, and refining will suffer the most from climate change and dirty energy extraction,” said Camila Apaza-Mamani, who grew up in Utah.

Lock-downs in combination with mobile blockades were used to enforced a for a full-day work stoppage at Seep Ridge Road.

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Beautiful Justice: An Open Letter to Liberals

By Ben Barker / Deep Green Resistance Wisconsin

By Ben Barker / Deep Green Resistance Wisconsin

Do you believe in a better world? Do you believe in one without the torture of poverty and slavery; without hierarchies based on dominance; without a dying planet? If you do believe in this world, what are you willing to do to help bring it about?

I know many who yearn for justice, but far fewer with any kind of plan for achieving it. There’s no lack of morality in this equation, just of strategy and, perhaps, courage.

Every movement for social change has understood that when a system of law is corrupt, we must turn instead to the laws of the universe: human rights, the living land, justice. These movements are always deemed radical—and that’s because they are. Hope and prayers do not alone work to change the world. We’re going to have to fight for it.

All your heroes of the past knew this. Those who won civil rights knew it. Those who won women’s suffrage knew it. Those who abolished slavery knew it. Those who freed India from colonial rule knew it.

Martin Luther King, Jr. clearly understood this. He said, “Freedom is never given to anybody, for the oppressor has you in domination because he plans to keep you there, and he never voluntarily gives it up. And that is where the strong resistance comes. We’ve got to keep on keeping on, in order to gain freedom. It is not done voluntarily, but it is done through the pressure that comes about from people who are oppressed. Privileged classes never give up their privileges without strong resistance.”

All movements striking at the roots of social problems were—and still are—radical by default.

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Sabotage of Nuclear Train in France

By Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News

By Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News

An unknown anti-nuclear group has taken credit for a July 12 act of sabotage that derailed a train transporting nuclear waste in the French city of Limoges.  French police are currently conducting an investigation.

According to the regional newspaper Le Populaire du Centre, an email claiming responsibility also explained that a steel plate, also known as a fishplate, was unbolted from the tracks, the track was lifted and the rail crossings were dislodged.

The derailment took place in the morning on a stretch of track used exclusively by nuclear giant Areva to transport nuclear waste.

The Areva train shot off the rails more than 200 ft. Neither of the two rail-workers aboard were injured.

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Originally posted by Earth First! News here.

Sustainability is destroying the Earth

By Kim / Stories of Creative Ecology

By Kim / Stories of Creative Ecology

Don’t talk to me about sustainability.  You want to question my lifestyle, my impact, my ecological footprint?  There is a monster standing over us, with a footprint so large it can trample a whole planet underfoot, without noticing or caring.  This monster is Industrial Civilization.  I refuse to sustain the monster.  If the Earth is to live, the monster must die.  This is a declaration of war.

What is it we are trying to sustain?  A living planet, or industrial civilization?  Because we can’t have both.

Somewhere along the way the environmental movement – based on a desire to protect the Earth, was largely eaten by the sustainability movement – based on a desire to maintain our comfortable lifestyles.  When did this happen, and why?  And how is it possible that no-one noticed?  This is a fundamental shift in values, to go from compassion for all living beings and the land, to a selfish wish to feel good about our inherently destructive way of life.

The sustainability movement says that our capacity to endure is the responsibility of individuals, who must make lifestyle choices within the existing structures of civilization.  To achieve a truly sustainable culture by this means is impossible.  Industrial infrastructure is incompatible with a living planet.  If life on Earth is to survive, the global political and economic structures need to be dismantled.

Sustainability advocates tell us that reducing our impact, causing less harm to the Earth, is a good thing to do, and we should feel good about our actions.  I disagree. Less harm is not good.  Less harm is still a lot of harm.  For as long as any harm is caused, by anyone, there can be no sustainability. Feeling good about small acts doesn’t help anyone.

Only one-quarter of all consumption is by individuals.  The rest is taken up by industry, agribusiness, the military, governments and corporations.  Even if every one of us made every effort to reduce our ecological footprint, it would make little difference to overall consumption.

If the lifestyle actions advocated really do have the effect of keeping our culture around for longer than it would otherwise, then it will cause more harm to the natural world than if no such action had been taken.  For the longer a destructive culture is sustained, the more destruction it causes.  The title of this article isn’t just attention-grabbing and controversial, it is quite literally what’s going on.

When we frame the sustainability debate around the premise that individual lifestyle choices are the solution, then the enemy becomes other individuals who make different lifestyle choices, and those who don’t have the privilege of choice.  Meanwhile the true enemy — the oppressive structures of civilization — are free to continue their destructive and murderous practices without question.  This is hardly an effective way to create a meaningful social movement.  Divide and be conquered.

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Time is Short: Stop the Flows, Stop the Machine

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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Beautiful Justice: Entitled Defeat

By Ben Barker / Deep Green Resistance Wisconsin

By Ben Barker / Deep Green Resistance Wisconsin

We’ll need a miracle to save the world, and the only miracle we’re going to get is us. Right now, we—as in life on this planet we—are losing. That nobody wants to say this out loud doesn’t change its truth: we are losing, and badly.

For all the tireless marching, writing, petitioning, film-making, and purification of our lifestyles, how much destruction has actually—in the real world, not just our hearts and minds—been stopped?

We are losing. No one wants to say this out loud. Every impassioned conversation, book, and documentary film seems to follow the same wishful script: things are bad—okay, things are really bad—and while that’s certainly not good, it doesn’t change the fact that we are actually winning, that our individual actions are making a difference, that hearts and minds are changing, that we’re on the cusp of a great turning, that sustainability is upon us. All this whether the greedy or ignorant like it or not.

With our hands up in the air, who will do the work to make sure this future turns to reality? It’s easy to be optimistic in the cradle of privilege. It’s easier to look out the window and see winds of change when that window isn’t found in a sweatshop or prison complex. Those who feel firsthand the destruction of life—of democracy, community, freedom, landbase, and bodily integrity—do not have this luxury; they cannot pretend justice is now, or will be, prevailing when every day is testament of the opposite.

Many on the Left would call this cynicism. They would say it reflects a negative attitude. They would say negative attitudes don’t get us anywhere. They fail to mention what will.

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50 Ways to Prepare for Revolution

50 Ways to Prepare for Revolution

The people of the United States are currently unprepared to seize a revolutionary moment. We must fix that.

How can we raise our levels of revolutionary consciousness, organization and struggle?

Raise consciousness

1) Raise consciousness with the purpose of building organization and raising the level of struggle.

2) Investigate before forming opinions. Research how the world and the system function.

3) Read foundational and historical works about revolution, by those who have participated in and led them.

4) Analyze the system’s current condition and trajectory.

5) Learn about the resistance, uprisings and revolutions going on in the world today.

6) Read the material that currently active groups are issuing and discussing.

7) Continuously develop, elaborate upon and refine principles, theories and strategies for our movement.

8) Raise our voices. Articulate revolutionary ideas, and give them a public presence.

9) Listen and speak in the spirit of mutual clarification.

10) Participate in discussion, to develop our ideas and hone our skills in expressing them, and to help others do so.

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