Reading Group for Deep Green Resistance forming in Seattle

Reading Group for Deep Green Resistance forming in SeattleHave you read, or wanted to read, Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet? For those grappling with the tough questions of how to win battles for social and environmental justice, it’s necessary reading that explores strategy, tactics, movement history, and what might be effective for our movement to win.

With that in mind, DGR Seattle is forming a book group. While the plan is still being finalized, the first gathering will take place on August 23rd, from 3-5pm, in the U-District. It will be an informal gathering to discuss the strategies and ideas in the book with a focus on bringing these strategies to bear on the front lines.ow

If you are interested in joining, please send an email to seattle@deepgreenresistance.org with the following information:

– Your name and the best way to contact you
– How you learned about DGR
– Why you wish to join the book group
– A very brief description of your politics on feminist, anti-racist, and environmental issues

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Gender, Patriarchy, and All That Jazz

Gender, Patriarchy, and All That Jazz - gender critical

This article, by Deep Green Resistance member Mary Lou Singleton, was recently published on Counterpunch. It deals with the topic of gender: a controversial subject that has led to DGR members being deplatformed, blacklisted, and threatened. But the hype is just that. As this post demonstrates, gender-critical positions are compassionate and have roots in a material analysis of feminism and patriarchy.

Continue reading

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The Rivers and streams are so hot that salmon are dropping dead

Salmon are dropping deadEditor’s note: this article, which appeared in Sunday’s Seattle Times, is a typical corporate media peice: it illustrates the problem passably — hundreds of thousands of salmon are dropping dead due to rising stream and river temperatures — but neglects to speak to the true solutions: taking out ALL the dams and dismantling the industrial economy that drives global warming.

These solutions are simple, but within the culture of business as usual, the life of an entire species (a keystone species at that) is worth less than hot showers and industrial electricity. So cheaply this culture sells out our kin. A true resistance movement is needed.

HOME VALLEY, Skamania County — In a quiet, green pool off the Lower Columbia River, upstream from the Bonneville Dam, dozens of sickly sockeye salmon spend their final days. They shouldn’t be here. Instead, the fish should have forged deep into the drainages of North Central Washington, the Okanagan region of British Columbia or Redfish Lake in central Idaho.

But their journey has been short-circuited by a startling surge in water temperatures that has turned the Columbia into a kill zone where salmon immune systems are weakened and fish die of infections. At Bonneville Dam last week, water temperatures were more than 72 degrees, nearly 5 degrees higher than the 10-year average for this time period.

So, rather than pushing forward, these sockeye made a last-ditch effort to escape the warm water. They veered off the Columbia to swim into a short inlet that leads to the mouth of the Little White Salmon River, which is fed by glacier melt and provides cool water.

Some still are chrome silver, though suffering from a bacterial disease. Others have backs covered with a mottled white fungus. All are expected to die here — hundreds of miles short of their spawning grounds.

“The water temperatures in the Lower Columbia are physiologically unsustainable for salmon,” said Mary Peters, a microbiologist who works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Read the rest of the article at the Seattle Times website.

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The Climate Movement is Failing. Here are Two Models to Turn the Tide.

Carbon Dioxide 400.71 ppm May 2015The great musician Lauren Hill once said, “Fantasy is what people want but reality is what they need.”

And the reality is that the climate movement is failing. See this graph? That’s a measure of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere from 2005 to mid-2015. The trend is up. That means we’re losing. Until that trend is heading steeply in the other direction, we’re in trouble.

There are some encouraging signs. For the first time, carbon emissions flatlined through 2014, not increasing above the 2013 levels. But what most people don’t appreciate is that this change is a reduction in the acceleration of carbon emissions. The year 2014 simply avoided surpassing 2013 to become the worst year for carbon emissions on record. Instead, it was a tie.

This does not represent a victory. It represents a slowdown in the acceleration of how badly we’re getting our asses kicked. To win, the level of annual carbon emissions must plummet — on the order of 80-90% in the next 20-30 years, according to the climate scientists we have spoken with.

#ShellNO and Other Campaigns Against Fossil Fuels

what do we do when mass movements fail?In Seattle, the #ShellNo campaign to stop the Arctic oil drilling rig Polar Pioneer has thus far been unsuccessful. Despite the huge popular opposition, despite hundreds of kayaktivists taking to the water to block the rig, despite support from groups as disparate as the Seattle City Council and Greenpeace, the rig was not stopped.

And remember: this is only one small fraction of the expansion of fossil fuels; even if Arctic drilling is ultimately stopped, that does not address the already-established impacts.

So why aren’t we able to win?

“Corporations and their owners have learned quite well that when you control the law, you can rise swiftly to power and wealth by shredding bothersome laws adopted by communities,” writes Thomas Linzey, a lawyer and activist with the Community Legal Environmental Defense Fund (CELDF).

Fundamentally, according to Linzey, the problem is that the law is on the side of those in power. Destroying the planet is legal. Propping up a racist police force is legal. The CELDF analysis begins with the constitution, which they recognize as a document that was written by the rich to protect themselves and their power from the rest of the people.

large_740_on_comm_civ_disLinzey and his team at CELDF work with communities around the United States (and the world) to implement a revolutionary form of local lawmaking. At its basis, it challenges the argument that federal and state laws that permit destructive projects (like oil & gas drilling, factory farming, mining, etc.) trump any local opposition to the project.

It works like this. First, local organizers from a region under threat must contact CELDF. After learning about the issue, CELDF (which is funded by grants and doesn’t charge for it’s services) sends a trainer to the community to hold what they call a “Democracy School,” a two-day training that explains the legal roots of corporate power.

This is where their strategy goes off the rails. CELDF says the regulatory system isn’t broken; it’s doing exactly what it is meant to do, which is to direct people’s anger and frustration into a mess of bureaucracy that ultimately leads nowhere. The system has no teeth. So instead of this traditional approach, CELDF helps local organizers draft a local law that not only prohibits the project they’re trying to stop, it also removes rights from corporations within that jurisdiction and gives legal recognition to the rights of nature.

In their model, a river — through a human proxy — could sue a company that was causing it harm and argue that the rights of river to exist in a natural state were being infringed upon. This has actually happened. In 2008, CELDF helped the nation of Ecuador include rights of nature in their constitution, and the law has been used there to prevent “development.” In one case, local people brought a lawsuit against an oil project on behalf of a local river, and they won.

In the US, this model is blatantly illegal, since it goes against the constitution, which was set up to protect the rights of businesses. But that is the whole point, says Linzey. “We call it municipal civil disobedience.” And at its core, it’s a grassroots strategy to move from community to community, agitating for people to reclaim their rights to self determination in a grassroots effort to take back the government. The aim is to start with towns and move to counties, states, and eventually to the federal government, forcing meaningful changes into the very structure of law.

It’s not a simple model to implement. It’s only possible in certain communities, since the legal circumstances can vary from town to town and state to state. Getting a measure on the ballot can be difficult, and then there has to be enough engaged citizen power to actually pass the measure into law. It’s a very tricky proposition, as some communities (like Spokane or Bellingham, both towns in Washington State which have been trying to implement a CELDF-style law for several years without success) have learned.

The CELDF model requires dedicated organizers, citizen buy-in, an engaged public, and time. But when these resources can be mobilized, the changes can be profound.

MEND

Screen-Shot-2012-05-19-at-18.45.36The second model is equally revolutionary. It comes from the Niger river delta, a vast network of swamps and wetlands that stretches for 27,000 square miles. This is the largest wetland in Africa, and is home to extensive biodiversity.

In 1956, British colonial forces discovered oil, and ever since, oil companies — especially Royal Dutch Shell — have propped up a series of authoritarian governments that are willing to facilitate oil extraction. With more than 2 million barrels per day extracted, the delta is one of the major oil-producing areas of the world.

With the oil has come spills: more than 8,000 of them in the last 45 years. Fish populations have been devastated. Gas flaring is causing acid rain throughout the region, ruining agricultural lands. More than 15% of mangrove forests have been destroyed outright. The people have not benefited from the oil extraction. More than 70% of the delta’s residents live in extreme poverty, their traditional livelihoods destroyed by pollution and no revenues forthcoming from the oil.

Starting in 1970, an organized non-violent resistance movement called MOSOP (the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People) began to agitate for environmental justice, democracy, and human rights in the region. For 25 years, the movement spoke out against injustice, organized protests, developed alternative policies, and orchestrated sit-ins in oil facilities.

Then, in 1995, the Nigerian military police (assisted by Shell’s private military forces) arrested 9 leaders in the MOSOP movement. Framed on charges of assassination, these leaders (including Nobel Peace Prize nominee Ken Saro-Wiwa) were executed on November 10th.

With the non-violent movement floundering and the catastrophe accelerating, some individuals in the delta community decided to take matters into their own hands. They formed a new group called MEND: the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta. Using hit-and-run guerrilla tactics, speed boats, and deep connections in the local communities, MEND began to sabotage oil facilities across the region.

MEND attackAt one point in 2008, MEND disabled 10% of Nigeria’s oil export capacity in one attack, and through a series of attacks reduced production by 40%.

Serious biocentric activists around the world must understand the importance of these actions. Environmentalists in countries around the world have worked for decades to slow and halt fossil fuel extraction, and in not one other case has the capacity of a major producer been impacted to even a fraction of that degree.

No one has been as effective as MEND.

For many decades, activists have been using the same tactics: protests, mass mobilizations, court cases, lobbying. And in many cases, these techniques have been successful, leading to meaningful reform and improvements. But overall, our movements (we speak particularly here to the environmental movement, but the same can largely be said for the anti-racist movement and the feminist movement) have been stagnant and unsuccessful.

These two models — revolutionary democracy and the most direct of direct action — may offer chances at greater levels of success than we have seen in the past 40 years. To learn more about the CELDF model, visit www.CELDF.org or watch Thomas Linzey’s video. To learn more about MEND and the strategic sabotage model of ecological resistance, visit the Deep Green Resistance website.

Posted in Lobbying, Property & Material Destruction, Strategy & Analysis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

News Roundup: Mauna Kea Resistance, Prairie Dog Protection, and War Games

News Roundup: Mauna Kea Resistance, Prairie Dog Protection, and War GamesDefending Wildlife in Colorado

The DGR Southwest Coalition recently held their annual Southwest Gathering, sharing skills & good food, and engaging in many discussions & strategy sessions. As part of the gathering, Deanna Meyer of Deep Green Resistance Colorado joined Brian Ertz of Wildlands Defense to discuss their recent campaign against a Castle Rock mega-mall development. We’ve reported here a little bit on the struggle, and are excited to share this video of Meyer and Ertz describing the campaign in more detail.

Protecting Sacred Land in Hawaii

o-MAUNA-KEA-PROTEST-facebook

DGR member Will Falk spent 5 weeks on Mauna Kea recently, supporting the blockade and documenting the story of the resistance. His latest article explains how protesters used boulders and stones to block construction crews on June 24th.

Why the Mountain is a forthcoming documentary by Anne Keala Kelly, a native Hawaiian filmmaker and DGR supporter. The film is is production right now and Keala could use as much support as possible to bring a radical analysis to the community. We urge all of our readers and supporters to check out the sneak previews of the film and donate to support it!

Massive Wargames Threaten Alaskan Wildlife

Dahr Jamail is an award winning journalist and author who is a full-time staff reporter for Truthout.org. His work is currently focusing on Anthropogenic Climate Disruption. In this interview, Jamail and Derrick Jensen discuss the harm caused by massive military maneuvers off of Alaska.

Rural Nevada Water Grab Threatens Environment, Tribes, and Rural Life

In this interview, Max Wilbert and Derrick Jensen discuss a plan led by Las Vegas developers and buerocrats to steal water from important and beautiful rural areas. Wilbert grew up in Seattle and spent a great deal of his childhood on the Olympic Coast, on Makah land. Now in his late 20’s, he works with an organization called Deep Green Resistance to promote strategic eco-sabotage and work to protect the land. He also serves on the Board of Directors of a grassroots non-profit called Fertile Ground Environmental Institute.

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Lawyer for Deep Green Resistance ‘interrogated repeatedly’ at US border

Lawyer for Deep Green Resistance 'interrogated repeatedly' at US border Environmental activists for Deep Green Resistance in seven states say they have been questioned and harassed by US federal agents at work and at home

By Adam Federman, The Guardian

Deanna Meyer lives on a sprawling 280-acre goat farm south of Boulder, Colorado. She’s been an activist most of her adult life and has recently been involved in a campaign to relocate a prairie dog colony threatened by the development of a shopping mall in Castle Rock.

In October of last year, an agent with the Department of Homeland Security showed up at her mother’s house and later called her, saying he was trying to “head off any injuries or killing of people that could happen by people you know”.

Meyer was one of more than a dozen environmental activists, many of them members of the environmental group Deep Green Resistance, contacted by the FBI, DHS and state law enforcement investigators in late 2014. In one case they wanted to know if Deep Green Resistance was a front group for another organization involved in violent activity or sabotage.

buildawall_11x14Now the activists’ lawyer, Larry Hildes, seems to have been swept up in the investigation himself. On several occasions, Hildes says, he has been detained at border crossings for lengthy interrogations and questioned about Meyer.

The story was first reported in January but, until now, members of Deep Green Resistance had not spoken publicly about the wave of visits, which began with a call to the parents of an activist in Clearwater, Florida, on 1 October. Eight members of Deep Green Resistance and two other activists not affiliated with the group who were contacted around the same time have since come forward to the Guardian.

Read the rest of the article here: Lawyer for Deep Green Resistance ‘interrogated repeatedly’ at US border | The Guardian

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Interview with an Eco-Saboteur, Part III

20150613-154359-EditToday we’re excited to bring you part 3 of a lengthy interview with Michael Carter, a Utah resident and longtime DGR member who was convicted for acts of eco-sabotage in the 1990’s. You can read the first installments: part I, and part II on the DGR News Service website. But first, a few photos from our recent outdoor skills workshop (and yes, that is a bear footprint).


I20150613-154421-Editn 1993 Michael Carter was arrested and indicted for underground environmental activism. Since then he’s worked aboveground, fighting timber sales and oil and gas leasing, protecting endangered species, and more. Today, he’s a member of Deep Green Resistance Colorado Plateau, and author of the memoir Kingfishers’ Song: Memories Against Civilization.

Time is Short spoke with him about his actions, underground resistance, and the prospects and problems facing the environmental movement.

Time is Short: You mentioned some problems of radical groups—lack of respect for women and lack of a strategy.  Could you expand on that?

Michael Carter: Sure.  To begin with, I think both of those issues arise from a lifetime of privilege in the dominant culture.  Men in particular seem prone to nihilism; I certainly was.  Since we were taught—however unwittingly—that men are entitled to more of everything than women, our tendency is to bring this to all our endeavors.

I will give some credit to the movie “Night Moves” for illustrating that. The men cajole the woman into taking outlandish risks and they get off on the destruction, and that’s all they really do.  When an innocent bystander is killed by their action, the woman has an emotional breakdown.  She’s angry with the men because they told her no one would get hurt, and she breaches security by talking to other people about it.  Their cell unravels and they don’t even explore their next options together.  Instead of providing or even offering support, one of the men stalks and ultimately kills the woman to protect himself from getting caught, then vanishes back into mainstream consumer culture.  So he’s not only a murderer but ultimately a cowardly hypocrite, as well.

Honestly, it appears to be more of an anti-underground propaganda piece than anything.  Or maybe it’s just a vapid film, but it does have one somewhat valid point—that we white Americans, particularly men, are an overprivileged self-centered lot who won’t hesitate to hurt anyone who threatens us.

Artwork by Stephanie McMillan

That’s a fictional example, but any female activist can tell you the same thing.  And of course misogyny isn’t limited to underground or militant groups; I saw all sorts of male self-indulgence and superiority in aboveground circles, moderate and radical both.  It took hindsight for me to recognize it, even in myself.  That’s a central problem of radical environmentalism, one reason why it’s been so ineffective.  Why should any woman invest her time and energy in an immature movement that holds her in such low regard?  I’ve heard this complaint about Occupy groups, anarchists, aboveground direct action groups, you name it.

Groups can overcome that by putting women in positions of leadership and creating secure, uncompromised spaces for them to do their work.  I like to reflect on the multi-cultural resistance to the Burmese military dictatorship, which is also a good example of a combined above- and underground effort, of militant and non-violent tactics.  The indigenous people of Burma traditionally held women in positions of respect within their cultures, so they had an advantage in building that into their resistance movements, but there’s no reason we couldn’t imitate that anywhere.  Moreover, if there are going to be sustainable and just cultures in the future, women are going to be playing critical roles in forming and running them, so men should be doing everything possible to advocate for their absolute human rights.

As for strategy, it’s a waste of risk-taking for someone to cut down billboards or burn the paint off bulldozers.  It’s important not to equate willingness with strategy, or radicalism and militancy with intelligence.  For example, I just noticed an oil exploration subcontractor has opened an office in my town.  Bad news, right?  I had a fleeting wish to smash their windows, maybe burn the place down.  That’ll teach ‘em, they’ll take us seriously then.  But it wouldn’t do anything, only net the company an insurance settlement they’d rebuild with and reinforce the image of militant activists as mindless, dangerous thugs.

If I were underground, I’d at least take the time to choose a much more costly and hard-to-replace target.  I’d do everything I could to coordinate an attack that would make it harder for the company to recover and continue doing business.  And I’d only do these things after I had a better understanding of the industry and its overall effects, and a wider-focused examination of how that industry falls into the mechanism of civilization itself.

By widening the scope further, you see that ending oil and gas development might better be approached from an aboveground stance—by community rights initiatives, for example, that have outlawed fracking from New York to Texas to California.  That seems to stand a much better chance of being effective, and can be part of a still wider strategy to end fossil fuel extraction altogether, which would also require militant tactics.  You have to make room for everything, any tactic that has a chance of working, and begin your evaluation there.MC_tsquote_3

To use the Oak Flat copper mine example, now the mine is that much closer to happening, and the people working against it have to reappraise what they have available.  That particular issue involves indigenous sacred sites, so how might that be respectfully addressed, and employed in fighting the mine aboveground?  Might there be enough people to stop it with civil disobedience?  Is there any legal recourse?  If there isn’t, how might an underground cell appraise it?  Are there any transportation bottlenecks to target, any uniquely expensive equipment?  How does timing fit in?  How about market conditions—hit them when copper prices are down, maybe?  Target the parent company or its other subsidiaries?  What are the company’s financial resources?

An underground needs a strategy for long-term success and a decision-making mechanism that evaluates other actions.  Then they can make more tightly focused decisions about tactics, abilities, resources, timing, and coordinated effort.  The French Resistance to the Nazis couldn’t invade Berlin, but they sure could dynamite train tracks.  You wouldn’t want to sabotage the first bulldozer you came across in the woods; you’d want to know who it belonged to, if it mattered, and that you weren’t going to get caught.  Maybe it belongs to a habitat restoration group, who can say?  It doesn’t do any good to put a small logging contractor out of business, and it doesn’t hurt a big corporation to destroy machinery that is inexpensive, so those questions need to be answered beforehand.  I think successful underground strikes must be mostly about planning; they should never, never be about impulse.

From Deep Green Resistance: A Strategy to Save the Planet

TS: There are a lot of folks out there who support the use of underground action and sabotage in defense of Earth, but for any number of reasons—family commitments, physical limitations, and so on—can’t undertake that kind of action themselves. What do you think they can do to support those willing and able to engage in militant action?

MC: Aboveground people need to advocate underground action, so those who are able to be underground have some sort of political platform.  Not to promote the IRA or its tactics (like bombing nightclubs), but its political wing of Sinn Fein is a good example.  I’ve heard a lot of objections to the idea of advocating but not participating in underground actions, that there’s some kind of “do as I say, not as I do” hypocrisy in it, but that reflects a misunderstanding of resistance movements, or the requirements of militancy in general.  Any on-the-ground combatant needs backup; it’s just the way it is.  And remember that being aboveground doesn’t guarantee you any safety.  In fact, if the movement becomes effective, it’s the aboveground people most vulnerable to harm, because they’re going to be well known.  In that sense, it’s safer to be underground.  Think of the all the outspoken people branded as intellectuals and rounded up by the Nazis.

From Deep Green Resistance: A Strategy to Save the Planet

The next most important support is financial and material, so they can have some security if they’re arrested.  When environmentalists were fighting logging in Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island in the 1990s, Paul Watson (of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society) offered to pay the legal defense of anyone caught tree spiking.  Legal defense funds and on-call pro-bono lawyers come immediately to mind, but I’m sure that could be expanded upon.  Knowing that someone is going to help if something horrible happens, combatants can take more initiative, can be more able to engineer effective actions.

We hope there won’t be any prisoners, but if there are, they must be supported too.  They can’t just be forgotten after a month.  As I mentioned before, even getting letters in jail is a huge morale booster.  If prisoners have families, it’s going to make a big difference for them to know that their loved ones aren’t alone and that they will have some sort of aboveground material support.  This is part of what we mean when we talk about a culture of resistance.

TS: You’ve participated in a wide range of actions, spanning the spectrum from traditional legal appeals to sabotage.  With this unique perspective, what do you see as being the most promising strategy for the environmental movement?

MC: We need more of everything, more of whatever we can assemble.  There’s no denying that a lot of perfectly legal mainstream tactics can work well.  We can’t litigate our way to sustainability any more than we can sabotage our way to sustainability; but for the people who are able to sue the enemy, that’s what they should be doing.  Those who don’t have access to the courts (which is most everyone) need to find other roles.  An effective movement will be a well-organized movement, willing to confront power, knowing that everything is at stake.

Decisive Ecological Warfare is the only global strategy that I know of.  It lays out clear goals and ways of arranging above- and underground groups based on historical examples of effective movements.  If would-be activists are feeling unsure, this might be a way for them to get started, but I’m sure other plans can emerge with time and experience.  DEW is just a starting point.

Remember the hardest times are in the beginning, when you’re making inevitable mistakes and going through abrupt learning curves.  When I first joined Deep Green Resistance, I was very uneasy about it because I still felt burned out from the ‘90s struggles.  What I’ve discovered is that real strength and endurance is founded in humility and respect.  I’ve learned a lot from others in the group, some of whom are half my age and younger, and that’s a humbling experience.  I never really understood what a struggle it is for women, either, in radical movements or the culture at large; my time in DGR has brought that into focus.

Look at the trans controversy; here are males asking to subordinate women’s experiences and safe spaces so they can feel comfortable.  It’s hard for civilized men to imagine relationships that aren’t based on the dominant-submissive model of civilization, and I think that’s what the issue is really about—not phobia, not exclusionary politics, but rather role-playing that’s all about identity.  Male strength traditionally comes from arrogance and false pride, which naturally leads to insecurity, fear, and a need to constantly assert an upper hand, a need to be right.  A much more secure stance is to recognize the power of the earth, and allow ourselves to serve that power, not to pretend to understand or control it.

MC_tsquote_5TS: We agree that time is not on our side.  What do you think is on our side?

MC: Three things: first, the planet wants to live.  It wants biological diversity, abundance, and above all topsoil, and that’s what will provide any basis for life in the future.  I think humans want to live, too; and more than just live, but be satisfied in living well.  Civilization offers only a sorry substitute for living well to only a small minority.

The second is that activists now have a distinct advantage in that it’s easier to get information anonymously.  The more that can be safely done with computers, including attacking computer systems, the better—but even if it’s just finding out whose machinery is where, how industrial systems are built and laid out, that’s much easier to come by.  On the other hand the enemy has a similar advantage in surveillance and investigation, so security is more crucial than ever.

The third is that the easily accessible resources that empires need to function are all but gone.  There will never be another age of cheap oil, iron ore mountains, abundant forest, and continents of topsoil.  Once the infrastructure of civilized humanity collapses or is intentionally broken, it can’t really be rebuilt.  Then humans will need to learn how to live in much smaller-scale cultures based on what the land can support and how justly they treat one another.  That will be no utopia, of course, but it’s still humanity’s best option.  The fight we’re now engaged in is over what living material will be available for those new, localized cultures—and more importantly, the larger nonhuman biological communities—to sustain themselves.  What polar bears, salmon, and migratory birds need, we will also need.  Our futures are forever linked.

Time is Short: Reports, Reflections & Analysis on Underground Resistance is a bulletin dedicated to promoting and normalizing underground resistance, as well as dissecting and studying its forms and implementation, including essays and articles about underground resistance, surveys of current and historical resistance movements, militant theory and praxis, strategic analysis, and more. We welcome you to contact us with comments, questions, or other ideas at timeisshort@deepgreenresistance.org

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What do we do when mass movements fail? #sHellNO #SaveTheArctic

what do we do when mass movements fail?

Captions like this were quick to circulate during the protests.

Here in Seattle, we’ve been participating in and supporting the #sHellNO actions against the Arctic Drilling rig, Polar Pioneer, that has been parked at the Port of Seattle for weeks. As of yesterday morning, the rig is finally on the move, heading north on it’s way to the Arctic. Two dozen kayakers were detained and cited yesterday for attempting to interdict the rig, adding to the tally of arrests and fines incurred in the direct action.

Opposition to the rig has been widespread. Seattle city councilmember Mike O’Brien was among those arrested yesterday morning. A group of grandmothers was arrested a few days ago for blockading the land access to the terminal. The issue has received international media coverage, and support from just about every environmentalist and enviro-group you can imagine. Protests have been almost continuous for weeks. We have never seen such a flourishing of resistance in a short period.

Towing kayaks towards the shipping channel on June 15th in an attempt to block the rig. We were turned back by 4-foot swells soon after this photo was taken.

Towing kayaks towards the shipping channel on June 15th in an attempt to block the rig. We were turned back by 4-foot swells that flipped the boats soon after this photo was taken.

And yet, this morning, the rig is on the move, protected by police and coast guard working diligently on behalf of profit and destroying the planet (in short, working on behalf of the law). Unless blockades further north are more successful, or a major policy change is implemented, the rig will reach Arctic waters in a few weeks and begin its murderous work.

It is likely that, despite everything we have poured into this campaign, it will fail.

And, of course, this one campaign addresses only a fraction of fossil fuel extraction globally. Our members and allies have been on water, blocking the rigs and fighting as hard as possible to stop the Polar Pioneer. But thus far, we have failed.

What do we do when mass movements fail?

20150615-171340-Edit

Despite mass mobilizations, the sHellNO campaign has thus far been unsuccessful.

We want this movement to be successful. A ban on Arctic Drilling would be a smart, feasible policy change. As the great feminist lawyer Catherine McKinnon said, “Law organizes power.” It makes sense for activists and concerned people to use law, community organizing, and mass movements to take power away from those who would destroy the planet.

But far too often, that strategy doesn’t work. It’s not working now.

We need a new strategy for a movement that has too long been on the defensive. We need a war cry for a people who refuse to lose any more battles, the last resort of a movement isolated, co-opted, and weary from never-ending legal battles and blockades. Such a strategy exists, and it is written for those who understand that we live in the midst of a war against the planet. It’s time we turned the tide.

Turning the Tide

If we want to win, we need new strategies and tactics. It’s not enough to keep doing what we have been doing for years and decades, hoping that *this time*, finally, enough people join the movement to make it effective – hoping that this time, the president will be forced to do something. Sure, we have occasional victories. But by and large, our movement is losing, and contrary to popular belief, green technology won’t save us.

The Polar Pioneer drilling rig with the Seattle skyline in the background on June 15th.

The Polar Pioneer drilling rig with the Seattle skyline in the background on June 15th.

To turn the tide, we believe in direct resistance — but a smarter, more strategic, more decisive resistance that doesn’t bother trying to convince the masses or petition the government (although these methods are still important, and should be pursued in parallel). Instead, this strategy advocates for the formation of highly organized clandestine groups to take the onus of resistance, sabotaging critical nodes of industrial infrastructure to cut the arteries of global capitalism.

The information in this strategy is derived from military strategy and tactics manuals, analysis of historic resistances, insurgencies, and national liberation movements. The principles laid out within these pages are accepted around the world as sound principles of asymmetric conflict, where one party is more powerful than the other. If any fight was ever asymmetric, this one is. These strategies and tactics are taught to military officers at places like the Military Academy at West Point for a simple reason: they are extremely effective.

When he was on trial in South Africa in 1964 for his crimes against the apartheid regime, Nelson Mandela said: “I do not deny that I planned sabotage. I did not do this in a spirit of recklessness. I planned it as a result of a long and sober assessment of the political situation after many years of oppression of my people by the whites.” We invite you to read this strategy, and to undertake that same long and sober assessment of the situation we face. Time is short.

Read the strategy: Decisive Ecological Warfare

(in English, Russian, French, or Portuguese)

Posted in Obstruction & Occupation, Protests & Symbolic Acts, Strategy & Analysis | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Two Upcoming Events (and Behind-the-scenes Video)

11071407_811942245565574_292914727387322533_nOutdoor Workshop in Issaquah

On Saturday June 13th at 1pm, the Seattle Chapter of Deep Green Resistance will be hosting an Outdoor Skills Workshop. Learn WILDERNESS SURVIVAL. Heal yourself with HERBAL MEDICINE. Read the landscape as a NATURALIST. Join us just outside Seattle on the flanks of Squak Mountain for a half-day informal workshop on outdoor skills. This is the first in a series, and the day’s activities will depend on the weather and group.

Topics may include:
– Wild edible plants and fungi
– Useful wild plants (for tools, fire-making, weapons, shelter, etc)
– Friction fires (bowdrill)
– Natural fibers for basketry and cordage
– Finding clean water
– Medicinal Plants and natural first aid
– Maps and Navigation
– Geology and watershed dynamics
– Ecological basics
– Regional history

LOCATION:
We’ll meet in Issaquah, on the SW side of downtown at the intersection of Cabin Creek Ln. SW and Sunrise Pl. SW. This is on the east side of Squak Mountain near the Squak Mountain Access trail.

BRING:
Lunch, water bottle, raingear and warm clothes, pocketknife, paper bag, notebook, comfortable walking shoes, and a backpack to carry it all. Any questions? Contact us!

Guy McPherson in Seattle

On Wednesday June 17th at 5:30 p.m., Guy McPherson will be presenting and hosting a discussion at The Royal Room, 5000 Rainier Avenue South, Seattle, Washington (dinner at 5:00 p.m., reservations encouraged). More Western Washington and PNW tour locations are listed here.

Guy McPherson is an energetic speaker and talented moderator. He has appeared before countless audiences to speak about the two primary consequences of our fossil-fuel addiction: global climate change and energy decline.

Behind-the-scenes Video

Most supporters of Deep Green Resistance don’t get to see the more casual side of our group, so one of our members put together this short video that was filmed last spring after an environmental conference at which DGR members spoke. Check it out:

DGR After Hours from KITTYHAWK on Vimeo.

Posted in Building Alternatives, Listening to the Land, Movement Building & Support | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Baltimore and Black Lives Matter

-1This article by our friend Dominique Christina speaks powerfully to the issues of racism and police violence against black people and other people of color in the United States.

It is difficult to be radical in Denver. We are so privileged here. There’s a Starbucks and a Whole Foods on every corner; and dog parks and community gardens and it’s all so…seductive. It has an almost soporific effect. One can be lulled right to sleep by the idyllic snow-capped mountains and trendy cafes that suggest there is no crisis here. Our hoods aren’t like hoods in Chicago, Detroit, Jersey, parts of New York, New Orleans, St. Louis…Baltimore. No gritty crime drama about the drug trade and the alarmingly high homicide rates in the inner city could ever be filmed here. We are a little too deft with our trash pickups and our gentrification. Let me start near the beginning.

Mike Brown died. We all got tickets to the show.

What I knew after the spectacle of horror that social media alerted us to on that Saturday afternoon in August in Ferguson Missouri was that I could not protect my children. That is an impossibly soul crushing thing to carry. Especially for somebody like me; somebody whose adolescence was punctuated by the slings and arrows of too many rapacious men and boys and all of the tripwire that accompanies growing up black and female. The one thing I felt certain about when I became a mother was that I would become a fortress. I would keep my children safe at all costs. They came from me; matriculated from my simple womb ands burst through this skin brilliantly. Being a woman in a patriarchal society makes you interrogate whether you can keep the softer parts of who you are and still defy the limitations of misogyny, but being a mother makes you a wolf. The way I love my children told me I was woman enough and wolf enough to keep them safe.

But then Trayvon happened and I felt the ground slipping underneath me. Still, I fought against the despair. I brought my children to rallies that called for Zimmerman’s arrest and I challenged out loud, the notion that Trayvon deserved to be seen as a threat and therefore murdered in the gated community his father lived in. The effort was exhausting and replete with all of the pushback that comes from those whose bodies have never been so undervalued.

Zimmerman was not convicted. I watched the verdict come in with my children and cried and lamented and then almost instantly felt naïve to hold out hope that our judicial system, the same system that criminalizes black and brown bodies to feed the prison industrial complex, would care about one black boy walking down a road at night who never made it home. A boy my community iconicized in hash tags and hoodies. See, we are so accustomed to being slain; so accustomed to the lynching ritual and the picnics afterward, sometimes the only fight we can manage is a blog post about white America and Facebook posts about the legacy of racism.

My grandfather was born in 1911. He grew up in the Jim Crow south. He knew all about the spectacle of black bodies dangling from trees, burned alive, castrated and beaten. What I could not personally reconcile was that I was having the same conversations about the same culture of violence that he was having as a boy growing up in the West End of Little Rock, Arkansas. Nothing had changed. Martin Luther King’s magnificent legacy did not result in black people being a protected class. Malcolm X’s unapologetic, larger than life, tell you the truth to your face way of being in the world did not stop the slaughter. Both of those men were cut down by bullets in their prime anyway, which should have been all the evidence the following generations needed that this country is willful about its acts of brutality against black and brown people. If we couldn’t be slaves anymore we could be prisoners. We could be disenfranchised. We could be economically dispossessed. We could be squeezed and starved and relegated to barrios and ghettos that would kill us one way or another anyway. We should have known better. But we couldn’t see it…too much blood in our eyes.

So Ferguson…it awakened in me the unsurvivable reality that my children could be “legitimately killed.” They could be snatched from me by someone who saw them walking down a road at night and concluded that they were the threat. They were the imposition. Their lives were not valuable.

The depression that reached for me was thick. I woke up every morning trying to convince myself that there was still a righteous fight somewhere. That life still held beauty. That I could still love my children seismically and urgently, and protect them from the insistent ugly of the world.

I don’t want to suggest that this feeling distinguished me from so many others in this country and around the world who felt uproarious about Big Mike’s body lying in the street for more than four hours and I don’t want to suggest that my suffering was somehow more pronounced than other people. I saw Leslie McFadden pleading with police officers to get her boy out of the street…her firstborn. And I saw those same officers tell her to get back behind the police tape. I saw and heard the eruption of rage that interrupted the consciousness of brothers on the block who were all too familiar with police brutality but who nevertheless could not forgive the offense of seeing that child’s body face down in the street. I carried the death of Mike Brown hard. I still do. I can’t think about him for too long without gnashing my teeth. I can’t think too long about the fact that my own firstborn son stayed up every single night all summer long watching CNN trying to understand what world this is. And I am his mother so it is incumbent upon me to do something, right? To get in between my child and the horror…but how do I do that? What does my fight look like? How can I arm him? I didn’t know.

Read the rest of the article at Deep Green Resistance Southwest.

Posted in Repression at Home, White Supremacy | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment