“Bring Down the Culture”: An Interview with Kourtney Mitchell

“Bring Down the Culture”: An Interview with Kourtney Mitchell

By Vincent Emanuele for Counterpunch

Kourtney Mitchell is a writer and activist currently living in northeast Georgia, United States. He sits on the steering committee for Deep Green Resistance and the national board of directors for Veterans for Peace. Co-author of The Enemy in Blue: The Renatta Frazier Story, he has been involved in social justice activism for eight years. Kourtney is currently AWOL from the Georgia Army National Guard.


Vincent Emanuele: Let’s talk a little bit about your background. I know you were born in Illinois and now live in Georgia. What was your childhood like? Was your family politically active?

Kourtney Mitchell: Yes, I was born and spent the first part of my childhood on Chicago’s west side, right in the heart of the inner city. I remember huge gang fights and gun shots carrying on while I was trying to sleep as a kid, and always worrying about getting into fights with neighborhood kids while playing outside with my family. In Chicago, I lived in a three story home where each floor was like its own apartment. I lived with not just my parents and siblings, but also cousins, aunts, uncles, their spouses and my great grandmother, who to this day continues to keep the family together as the virtual matriarch. This is why my family always has and forever will have strong family bonds. Loyalty is natural for us.

We would cross the street to get Chicago-style polish sausages and Italian beef sandwiches, and fries smothered in mild sauce. This was back in the day of corner stores—real corner stores that weren’t attached to gas stations and pharmacies. Up the street the other way was a city park with a basketball court and jungle gym. Even though there was a lot of gang violence in my neighborhood, my family was well-established in the community and for the most part we got along just fine.

In Chicago, we were bussed out of the inner city to a magnet school instead of attending the schools closer to home. Of course I realized the problems with this, but I loved that school as a kid. I can still remember some of my friends, including the sweet little girl who wanted to be my girlfriend after I roughed up a bully who hit her during recess.

As a matter of fact, my grandfather is a former Black Panther in the Chicago chapter. That’s the only thing I know of the political activity of my family. We’ve visited him several times while I was a kid. However, he’s currently in prison in Illinois for charges dating back to his time with the Panthers.

When my mom moved us to Springfield, IL to finish her undergraduate degree, it was a different world. There in the state capitol, we attended mostly white schools where we surprisingly got along just fine and made a whole lot of friends. Schools with enough computers and television screens in the classroom, and decent textbooks. It was in those schools that I was able to write a full romance novel manuscript started when I was ten years old, almost get it published, and appear on Black Entertainment Television for an interview about it. Our middle and high schools were a bit more integrated, and those were the most formative years of my life.

It was in high school that my mother joined the Springfield, IL police department and experienced a lot of racism and sexism, for which she filed a civil suit against the city and settled out-of-court. That whole fiasco was extremely traumatic for my family—we had to move out of the state, and then back to Illinois within a single year. Constant media coverage and negative publicity for my mother and family until it was all settled. Continued harassment from the police department, including an eviction where cops threw all of our belongings out onto the street on my brother and I’s birthday. But we made the most of it. My mother and I wrote and self-published a creative nonfiction book about her experiences.

Vincent Emanuele: The last time we spoke, you were AWOL from the U.S. Army. I remember wanting to escape my unit, but being reluctant because I didn’t have politicized friends or comrades in the military or outside the military. Why did you join the military? And what’s your current status?

Kourtney Mitchell: Technically my status is still AWOL, though I’m working closely with my unit leadership to get the discharge once and for all. The unit was very good to me actually, so I believe them when they say they won’t pursue legal recourse. Answering why I joined the military is tricky. I want to admit right away that I knew better, but… I never should have enlisted.

Okay, so I had returned to Georgia from living and going to school in Missouri, which I still to this day view as a mistake because I had a great community in Missouri and it was hard leaving them. I didn’t like living at home, and I was having a very hard time finding decent work. My family urged me to enlist, so originally I was going to enlist with the Marines, even signed the contract and received a ship date for boot camp. But then I backed out, and went with the National Guard instead. The 68W MOS (combat medic) had a ship date that was too far in the future for my liking, so I decided to join as infantry so I could ship-off ASAP. That was an even bigger mistake than enlisting. Basically, I did it so I could get out on my own again and develop some job skills that may lead to career opportunities. I attended OSUT infantry training at Fort Benning, where WHINSEC (formerly the School of the Americas) trains death squads to squash the resistance in South America.

Vincent Emanuele: Let’s backtrack. At what point did you become radicalized? And who were some of your initial influences?

Kourtney Mitchell: My radicalization started when I was in college. It’s a long but interesting story. I’ll try to keep it somewhat short. My first experience with any kind of radical thought was when I decided to take a writing-intensive course in college that was focused on black female writers. We read Patricia Hill Collins, Toni Morrison, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston, etc. I didn’t take the course because I thought it was something I should learn about. Honestly, I took it because I needed the writing credit, and the class was available. It turned out to be a very good decision, and it contributed to real change in my life. It helped me establish the basics of feminism as it relates to the experiences of black women.

The instructor offered extra credit for attending a campus community discussion at the Black Culture Center on the representation and exploitation of black women in mainstream media. I shared my thoughts at the event based on what I was learning as a journalism student (later changed my major to sociology), and there was a woman there who really liked what I had to say. She was from the campus Women’s Center, and invited me to join the male ally program. I really don’t know why I agreed to do it; I guess there was something about the course I was taking that got me interested in pro-feminist men’s work, even though I wasn’t articulating it at the time.

I began attending the meetings and actions, and from there I joined the campus peer education program that was focused on anti-violence and anti-sexual assault on campus. That was my training ground—a formal, for-credit course that taught the fundamentals of sexual assault, relationship violence, patriarchy and ending male violence on campus. We were trained in how to help a friend in crisis, as well as how to give presentations to our peers.

That program changed my life forever. The course was extremely intense, at least for a starry-eyed undergrad like me. I remember many nights going home crying because I couldn’t understand how men could be so violent and create such a violent world. I struggled with what I could do as an individual, but I knew that I had no choice but to make pro-feminism my life’s work. I got so many good opportunities—giving presentations to fraternities, football teams, teenagers, college kids, so many different communities. We hosted spoken work events and open-mic nights. It was a fantastic program.

Once I switched my major to sociology, I began learning a bit about Marxist theory, which lead me to anarchism eventually, and then I began reading Derrick Jensen, John Zerzan and Layla Abdel Rahim. Anti-civilization thought revolutionized my thinking of social justice. Now it all made sense. All of the converging crises of racism, patriarchy, and human supremacism now became the overall problem I was trying to name—civilization, namely industrial civilization.

Not long after I returned to Georgia, the Deep Green Resistance book was published, and I began reading voraciously and watching all of the DGR videos online. I attended a workshop that early DGR members gave at a community spot in Atlanta, and I knew that I needed to find a way to join the group after that. I was invited to do so, and from then on my understanding of radical feminism and anti-civ thought has grown by leaps and bounds.

While in college, I got to kick it with Fred Hampton Jr (who pointed me out during his speech because he recognized me, and knew my mom and grandfather), and have dinner with Angela Davis. I saw Maya Angelou, Michael Eric Dyson, Jackson Katz and many others speak on campus. A few friends and I traveled to Jena, Louisiana for the huge Jena 6 protest, and I attended and helped organize several protests and marches on campus, including Take Back The Night marches, as well as a march and occupation of the student commons when legislators were threatening to repeal affirmative action programs. There was also well-attended community forum events for different incidents, such as when some white students thought it was funny to dump cotton balls on the lawn of the Black Culture Center.

Vincent Emanuele: In the past year, the intersection of race and policing has become one of the most galvanizing issues of our time. As a black man living in a nation built on the genocide of indigenous peoples, African slavery and white supremacy, how do you understand, process and resist within this culture?

Kourtney Mitchell: Understanding and processing what is happening in this culture is an ongoing process for me. I’m still fairly new to activism; most of my time was spent as an educator, with only a handful of real on-the-ground actions under my belt. But I guess I understand and process by being an avid reader, listening to pretty much every interview, speech and lecture I can find and/or attend in person, and constant conversations with other activists. As far as racism and white supremacy go, well that’s just a daily grind. My family has experienced both overt and covert racism. My family’s living conditions in Chicago were a direct result of racist housing practices. I mentioned the craziness with my mom at the police department in Illinois. And being followed and stopped all the time for just walking here in Georgia is so normal for me that sometimes I forget it’s not how it should be.

The processing part is the hardest, though, even harder than resisting. Processing is an internalization of what is happening, and it affects my very soul. Truthfully, I sometimes sit in my home, contemplating all of the police murders of unarmed people of color, their rape of women and all of the other craziness happening with policing and I just cry. That coupled with the destruction of the natural world, and it’s all just too much sometimes. But it’s a process—eventually I come out of despair even stronger and more determined. I am extremely privileged to be connected to several very large activist communities. I have a lot of allies, so I have it easier than someone who’s trying to navigate this culture alone.

Some people may not know this, but my family is military and police officer heavy. So I get a heavy dose of both perspectives every day, both against and for this culture. Again, I consider it a privilege, because I get to really hone my analysis on a real-world level.

Resisting this culture has become a calling for me, a purpose for living. I’ve attempted to set out on my own, drop all of my responsibilities and live a nomadic anarchist lifestyle, but that didn’t go well, and just thoroughly upset all of my loved ones. I began realizing that collective action, joining together as an oppressed group of people, is how we effectively resist the empire. So joining DGR and Veterans For Peace has become how I am able to leverage my skills, knowledge and passion for more effective actions. I also don’t mind using all of the tools at our disposal, even though many may say we’re hypocrites for using technology or finding ways to work within the system. I think Derrick Jensen is right when he said that we need it all, whatever skills people can bring in whatever capacity. We need it all to resist.

Vincent Emanuele: Right now, I know you’re a member of two organizations: Deep Green Resistance and Veterans for Peace. Can you talk about these organizations? What are you currently working on?

Kourtney Mitchell: DGR is the first activist organization I joined once I left Missouri and joined my family in Georgia. I was feeling isolated as an activist, partly because I wasn’t able to get to Atlanta consistently, which is where the majority of the activism in Georgia happens. So joining DGR was really a saving grace for me.

So DGR is a grassroots, volunteer-run social justice organization with chapters all over the world. Our analysis is that industrial civilization is currently killing the planet and oppressing living communities. Unless we bring down this culture—that is, unless we stop all extractive processes and dismantle all oppressive institutions, then the culture will keep going until it has literally killed every living being on the planet. So our strategy is Decisive Ecological Warfare, in which we advocate for the formation of a hypothetical underground militant movement that can attack industrial infrastructure and thus lead to the collapse of industrial civilization. We are not a part of, and do not ever wish to be a part of any kind of underground that may form to this effect. But we loudly and vocally speak in favor of such actions, because we believe it’s the only hope our planet has for survival. Our members engage in nonviolent civil disobedience, as well as widespread educational and activist campaigns around the world. Those killing the planet will not ever stop by asking them nicely. They will only stop when we force them to do so.

Veterans For Peace is a 501c3 non-profit activist organization composed of hundreds of chapters around the world. We are a military veterans-led organization with non-veteran associate members, and one of just a few veterans-led organizations that loudly and vocally opposes all wars and foreign interventions around the world. Our mission is to expose the true cost of war and militarism, and to advocate for reparations to both civilian communities affected by war and for veterans who carry the scars and moral injuries of war.

With DGR, I currently sit on the Steering Committee, the People of Color Caucus and I am the anti-racist editor for our News Service online. I’m involved with several projects as well, including art and music, pro-radical feminism, and I help direct security for the organization.

I currently sit on the National Board of Directors for Veterans For Peace, and I’ve joined the Nominations Committee to help recruit young veterans to the organization and encourage Post-911 veterans to take leadership positions. I also am hoping to do work with our G.I. Resistance working group to encourage young veterans to consider Conscientious Objection or other forms of resistance to military service, and to offer assistance to those who already have. Being AWOL myself, I understand the importance of having a close, loving community to assist in this struggle.

Vincent Emanuele: How has a “deep green” vision and understanding of patriarchy/male violence influenced your approach to strategies, tactics, and so on?

Kourtney Mitchell: As I mentioned earlier, the anti-civilization perspective revolutionized my understanding of social justice. It brought together all of the social problems that were important to me and put them under a big umbrella of civilization as the cause. The “deep green” perspective is really the foundation of this approach.

So it’s easiest to understand what the deep green perspective is when you contrast it with what we like to call “bright green” environmentalism. Bright green is what you get when capitalism attempts to paint what it is doing to the planet with the brush of consumer choices. So corporations and governments want us to think that it’s our fault that the planet is warming and the oceans are dying, and the top soil is blowing away in the wind. They want us to think that it’s because we aren’t buying the right products—our light bulbs, toilet paper, plastic shopping bags, our vehicle emissions, etc. They want us to believe that if we just buy and use the right products, then we can stop the destruction of the natural world, purely by consumer product choices alone.

To go along with this, so-called environmentalists have completely bought into this elaborate and well-funded lie. Even huge organizations like Greenpeace, The Sierra Club, etc, have touted the good of making better consumer choices. Capitalism has completely co-opted the environmental movement, which used to be about actually protecting the natural and is nowadays more about perpetuating industrial economies.

The bright green perspective has a fatal, fundamental flaw: it’s not the products of industrial civilization that are the problem, it’s the industrial economy itself. As a matter of fact, only as high as 20% of all energy and resource use comes from municipalities, and usually that number is much lower. The other 80-90% of all resource depletion and pollution comes from militaries, governments and corporations. The United States military is the world’s largest polluter, dumping more toxic waste into the environment than the top five corporations combined. Someone please tell me how my buying florescent light bulbs and recycled toilet paper is going to stop the military from committing this atrocity?

The deep green perspective takes this radical approach: Earth is a living, breathing being, which sustains homeostasis and provides the very foundation of life. All extractive processes, regardless of what products result, are detrimental to the health of the planet. The industrial economy is completely at odds with life on the planet, and since this is the case without a doubt, then it is the industrial economy that has to be dismantled. Green technology, such as wind turbines and hydroelectric power and solar power, all require industrial extraction, and thus cannot be considered sustainable.

The deep green analysis recognizes that for 99% of our existence on this planet as human beings, we lived in harmony with the land. We had a close physical and spiritual relationship with the web of life on earth, and our communities were set up to directly provide for real human and animal needs, not the needs of cities and empires. Our only hope for survival on this planet is to bring down the culture that’s killing it and return to our humble, close relationship to the land.

Vincent Emanuele: Since being involved, what are some of the pitfalls you’ve seen within the movement? In other words, how could groups and individuals better organize communities?

Kourtney Mitchell: The most obvious thing to me, at least for the environmental movement, is to give up the idea that so-called green technology will save us from certain destruction.

Other pitfalls include the failure of privileged activists to join in a material way the movements that oppressed people have created. There is too much sidelining by men who call themselves pro-feminist, or by whites who call themselves anti-racist. Oppressed groups need your material solidarity, not just your words. Oppressed groups need folks to join the front-lines of resistance, to put our bodies in between the oppressors and the communities they intend to oppress. In the DGR strategy, we recognize that only very few resistors will do the dirty work of materially dismantling the culture using militant means. The rest of us need to do radical actions including nonviolent civil disobedience and loud, vocal, and public advocation of radical strategy, normalizing resistance in the culture and attempting to counter the hegemonic messages of the empire.

I think there’s a lot of good organizing going on, but I just wish there was more cohesion, more collaboration across movements. This is hard when men in various movements refuse to check their male privilege, and refuse to call out male activists who are sexist or have a history of violence against women. And it’s hard when whites in various movements refuse to undergo the hard transformational process of admitting to and dismantling their own racism. That silence needs to stop right now. We don’t have time for half-assed activism. We need effective actions that can actually challenge power, dismantle capital and overthrow the power structure.

I think we should start adopting a process-oriented approach. What I like so much about the DGR strategy is that it recognizes that each action has a place in the movement, and that each action has to be evaluated on its ability to reach intended goals.

So growing community gardens alone cannot stop pipeline construction, nor can it stop Monsanto. But it can help feed activists. Such an action can sustain the movement. Actions such as hypothetically attacking oil infrastructure can actually lead to the collapse of the system, so that’s considered a decisive action. We have to analyze actions in this way, otherwise we’ll always be fighting a losing battle against an enemy who has vastly more resources and has a monopoly on violence.

Finally, I think activists overall need to understand that our goal should be to dismantle the culture entirely, not simply just to feel good about our actions. Feeling good is not the point when people of color (POC) are still being murdered in the streets; men are still killing and raping women; and indigenous communities are still being wiped off the planet. We need to get over our reliance on nonviolence as an end goal, and speak honestly about what it will actually take to win this war.

Vincent Emanuele: What is your vision for the future? Here, if you would go into some detail, that would be great, as I think people are interested in alternatives.

Kourtney Mitchell: Well, I can’t say that I personally have a vision for what the entire world needs to look like in the future. Personally, I want to possibly raise kids, grow food, tend to animals and live in a loving, supportive community away from industrial infrastructure. I want a sustainable off-the-grid lifestyle for my loved ones. But the way this culture is going, that may not ever be possible.

I can say that since civilization is a monoculture—that is, it is a culture characterized by the growth of cities, and that cities are proliferating all over the world, demolishing other forms of living such as tribes, clans, bands, etc—and that civilization behaves in a way that says only it can exist in the world, I think what could be of value is the proliferation of a diversity of cultures. A diversity of living arrangements tailored to the specific land-base that people find themselves living on. Our social structures, our communities, must be intimately tied to the specifics of the land we live on, so that we can live in such a way that actually contributes to the land, that actually benefits the land, instead of destroying it. Whatever that looks like for different communities, I welcome that future.

I think that inevitably means we must give up on all extractive processes, including agriculture. Many people do not understand just how harmful agriculture is to the land. This method of growing food has been characterized as the worst mistake humans have made in our history. Agriculture relies on annual mono-crops that actually destroy the land. What we need to rediscover is the perennial polycultures that give back to the land, and that cultivate the other lifeforms on the land. Agriculture has lead directly to our skyrocketing human population that is set to crash pretty much any decade now. Agriculture has to grow more food to feed more people, which in turn leads to more people and thus requires more food. It’s a never-ending cycle, and it’s really the most horrific consideration of our future. We need to be smart about how to address the population problem, starting with emancipating women around the world towards autonomy over their bodies and families.

Vincent Emanuele: Who are some of your personal influences? 

Kourtney Mitchell: Oh goodness, too many to name them all. Really, my activism has consisted mostly of repeating what a lot of good people have said and done before me.

Some of my most influential comrades are dear close friends of mine, such as the seasoned activists in DGR and VFP. Saba Malik, Derrick Jensen and Lierre Keith have had the most influential impact on my activism. My mother continues to be my biggest inspiration for overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds to become successful and instill her family with a sense of pride and purpose. The work of Gail Dines has been absolutely huge for my understanding of the evils of the sexual exploitation industry. Michael McPherson of VFP is a prime role model of mine, and I greatly admire his work both within the organization as well as his longtime work with some of the nation’s biggest anti-police violence movements. Doug Zachary, who’s a member of both VFP and DGR, is an incredible pro-feminist man and war resistor. He had the biggest impact on my decision to get involved in the anti-war movement.

Vincent Emanuele: What are you currently reading?

Kourtney Mitchell: The Culture of Make Believe by Derrick Jensen, who pulls no punches in his analysis of the dominant culture, and that makes his reading pretty tough to get through. It took me over two years to read both volumes of Endgame, but I’m glad I did. Derrick is a talented writer who has the ability to grab the attention of even his most ardent detractors. If you don’t feel like resisting with all of your might after reading his work, then you really don’t have a pulse.

Also, I’m reading Radical Acceptance by Dr. Tara Brach. I’ve been into Buddhist meditation and spirituality since 2006 and it gives me a good balanced perspective on the human condition and the nature of suffering in this world. I like how Dr. Brach weaves her personal narrative into a transformative program for overcoming our self-loathing. Probably the most practical Buddhist book I’ve ever read, which is saying a lot because I’ve often felt my spirituality and my activism weren’t meshing as well as I would like.

Vincent Emanuele: Any closing remarks or suggestions? 

Kourtney Mitchell: In the words of Andrea Dworkin: Resist! Do not comply!

Vincent Emanuele is a writer, activist and radio journalist who writes a weekly column for TeleSUR English. He lives in the Rust Belt and can be reached at vince.emanuele@ivaw.org

From Counterpunch: http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/02/27/a-feminist-radical-environmentalist-and-awol/


Earth at Risk 2014: The Proper Diagnosis

Will Falk / Deep Green Resistance
originally published at Generation Alpha

The proper cure requires the proper diagnosis.

On November 22 and 23, the Fertile Ground Environmental Institute offered the proper diagnosis for the ecological crises we all face to over 700 attendees at Earth at Risk 2014. Focusing on environmental and social justice, the conference brought together seemingly disparate voices to weave together diverse perspectives to offer a comprehensive response to global destruction. The keynote speakers were Vandana Shiva, Alice Walker, Chris Hedges, Thomas Linzey, and Derrick Jensen.

Shiva detailed how multi-national corporations like Monsanto and DuPont are using genetically modified organisms (GMO) to undermine local communities’ ability to produce their own food. Walker shared her experiences as a Pulitzer Prize winning author to give an artist’s perspective for the necessity of solidarity with women. Hedges drew upon nearly two decades as a foreign war correspondent to argue for the moral imperative of resistance to topple industrial civilization. Linzey, an attorney, illustrated how citizens come to him asking for help drafting ordinances against fracking and are converted into revolutionary cadre when they learn through the legal system that they do not live in a democracy. Jensen addressed the question “Why are so few of us fighting back?” with an explanation that most of us in this culture are suffering from complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

Time is short and Earth at Risk displayed the appropriate urgency in the face of total environmental destruction. Studies around the world confirm what we feel in our hearts to be true. A recent study by the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London shows that half the world’s population of wild animals has died off since 1970. This is consistent with the findings of the University College of London showing insect populations crashing 50 percent in the last 35 years. Human destruction is necessarily implicated in the death of the natural world. We know, for example, dioxin – a known carcinogen – is now found in every mother’s breast milk.

A mere conference is insufficient to stop the madness, but Earth at Risk offered the most complete examination the movement has seen to date offering six panel discussions to go with the five keynote speakers. The first day was devoted to sustainability and featured panel discussions titled Colonization and Indigenous Life, Indicators of Ecological Collapse, and Building Resistance Communities. The second day was devoted to social justice with panels covering Capitalism and Sociopathology; Race, Militarism, and Masculinity; and Confronting Misogyny.

Personal Reflections

In a world gone mad, there are simply too few resisters struggling on. This is one of the reasons we are losing so badly. I left Earth at Risk feeling that patriarchy, colonialism, and capitalism are the most serious threats to a living world. To save the world, alliances must be built on all fronts. While our movements remain relatively small, strength can be maximized in this way.

Earth at Risk’s speakers illuminated opportunities for coalition building and pointed out weak spots in the system ripe for targeting. There were too many highlights to document in one article, but my favorite moments included native Hawaiian filmmaker Anne Keala Kelly’s stinging remarks on the colonization of Hawaii and implorations for real decolonizing help from the mainland during the Colonization and Indigenous Life panel. Fighting for Hawaiian sovereignty would necessarily involve undermining the United States’ military presence there. Hawaii is the site of the United States’ Pacific Command that polices over half the world’s population.

During the Building Communities of Resistance panel, Mi’kmaw warrior Sakej Ward described how native warrior societies protect land bases so they may support the next seven generations. He drew attention to the 500 years of experience North American indigenous peoples have in resisting colonization and offered this experience as a valuable resource.

I was deeply moved by the entire conversation during the Race, Militarism, and Masculinity panel where military veterans Kourtney Mitchell, Vince Emanuele, Stan Goff, and Doug Zachary called on men to topple the patriarchy, stop rape, and support women with actions instead of words.

I attended the conference as a director of the Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network (VIC FAN) in support of Unist’ot’en clan spokeswoman Freda Huson and Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief Dini Ze Toghestiy who spoke on the Building Communities of Resistance panel about their experiences at the Unist’ot’en Camp. The Unist’ot’en Camp occupies the unceded territory of the Unist’ot’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en people and is a pipeline blockade sitting on the proposed routes of 17 fossil fuel pipelines in central British Columbia.

My visits to the Unist’ot’en Camp have taught me the strength in connecting the rationales for different social and environmental movements under one banner. It has also taught me how to think strategically. The Camp, as just one of many examples present at Earth at Risk, incorporates principles of indigenous sovereignty and environmentalism to bring activists from both communities together to combat imperialism and fossil fuels. More importantly, perhaps, the Camp demonstrates how a handful of volunteers can effectively neutralize huge, multi-corporate projects by focusing physical strength on chokepoints in industrial infrastructure. From a strategic perspective, the military-industrial complex wrecking the world runs on fossil fuels. Corking the fossil fuels would be a grievous blow to the dominant culture’s ability to continue business as usual.

Additionally, I am a member of the worldwide social and environmental justice organization Deep Green Resistance (DGR) based on the strategy developed by Lierre Keith, Derrick Jensen, and Aric McBay in the book Deep Green Resistance. DGR played a large role organizing the event. Keith brilliantly points out that, “Militarism is a feminist issue. Rape is an environmental issue. Environmental destruction is a peace issue.”

Hearing Kourtney Mitchell explain how his education in pro-feminism enabled to him to overcome the inherently abusive training he received as an infantry soldier in Georgia’s National Guard proved this to me. When Derrick Jensen was confronted for describing the destruction of the natural world in terms of rape and sexual violence and he refused to stop making the connection on grounds that both hinge on men’s perceived entitlement to violation, I understood that radical feminists and radical environmentalists were logical allies. Finally, hearing Richard Manning explain how dire the world’s lack of topsoil has become drove the point home that those of us sick of war would do well to defend the land’s ability to support food.

Finally, the Earth at Risk 2014 website promised to craft “game-changing responses to address the converging crises we face.” The conference successfully fulfilled its promise. The truth is we simply do not have the numbers to mount an effective resistance movement without forming coalitions between groups serious about stopping the murder of the planet and other humans.

I wrote earlier that a conference is insufficient to stop the madness. This is still true, but Earth at Risk 2014 accurately analyzed the world’s sicknesses and gave us a treatment plan to work from. Now, it’s time for all of those fighting so hard in our various causes to link up in solidarity to bring down the patriarchy, stop capitalism, and undermine the colonialism that is killing humans and obliterating the natural world.

Let’s Get Free!: Escalate the Fight to End Male Violence

Let’s Get Free!: Escalate the Fight to End Male Violence

By Kourtney Mitchell / Deep Green Resistance

I do not have a creative introduction to start this article. I have only the seething rage of a spirit absolutely fed up with a culture that is at war with women, their fervent pleads for solidarity and their righteous actions of self-defense against the monster of male supremacy echoing in my mind. I have only the scenes of men torturing and raping women, filmed for the goal of profit and produced on an industrial scale like a slave trade, an auction where women’s bodies are mutilated and sold for entertainment and sexual gratification, to drive me ever forward to find ways to organize against this barbarity. I have only the cries of my loved ones as they tell of their own abuse and that of others, their wishes to somehow get their murdered or missing friends back from the endless night of death enacted by men who are supposed to be human but instead behave more like demons.

No, I am all out of creative words. All I have are the words of the reality of the world women live in, a reality that I can never fully know, a reality that I still do not truly realize no matter how angry I get about it. I have women’s words – the words they use to tell their stories, to recount their experiences – words I still find increasingly difficult to hear. But hear I must because I do not ever want to become apathetic. I want to be angry, I want to be furious. I must stay furious. And I must allow that fury to teach me how to be a human being once again, instead of a monster. I must allow that fury to inform my actions, and to constantly remind me that the world has had enough of men’s words. What the world needs – what women need, what children need – is men’s action to destroy male violence and patriarchy once and for all.

I have the shame of being a man, that sex-caste category that has socialized me to be abusive, and to be callous towards other men’s abuse of women and children. I have the shame of knowing that I benefit from large-scale violence against women, the subordination and objectification and public humiliation of half the world’s population in the name of masculinity and manhood.

But that shame is not enough. I can see that my shame has not changed men’s behavior. Shame has not prevented our fists from breaking women’s jaws, our penises from torturing women’s bodies, our words from dismissing their experiences.

No, that shame has not ended male violence, but our actions can, and they must.

Profeminist men must escalate the fight to end men’s violence. And we must escalate NOW.

Abusive and controlling men have already declared outright war against women and children. This war is not metaphorical, and it is not an exaggeration. With at least a quarter of all women surviving or fighting off rape (and it is widely known that is an underestimate), and men committing as much as 94% of all child sexual abuse, what else can we call it? These men will readily tell you that they are at war, and it is high time profeminist men take them seriously.

For too long men have left the dirty work of defense and prevention to women, opting to just talk about supporting and defending women but never actually organizing truly effective offensives against male violence. No more. No more complacency, no more lip service, no more disingenuous half-assed activism that has not resulted in real progress towards women’s liberation.

It is time now that profeminist men begin publicly calling for and supporting militant action against the institutions of male supremacy. Simply put, men must stop other men, physically and definitively. We must organize smart, strategic and highly informed offensives against the men abusing women and we must do so under the leadership of feminist women, actively seeking accountability to these women so that our actions are in accordance to liberation on their terms, not ours. We must challenge men in our families, workplaces and peer groups when they speak or behave in ways that normalize or trivialize violence. We must instead normalize respect for women and respect for life, not just supporting militancy which can so easily become glorification of male violence, but committing ourselves to completely dismantling masculine culture on the interpersonal level as well.

Many of us have traveled the world speaking, marching, picketing, and participating in myriad forms of nonviolent protest in support of the feminist and anti-violence movement. And yet, the rate of men’s violence against women is increasing. Our work has been ineffective in bringing about lasting change. The change that we do manage to see is the result of generations of brave and courageous women who bled and died and were imprisoned for fighting for their right to be treated as human beings.

No doubt, some men have done great work, and must continue to do so. But we also must come to terms with the reality of the situation. We must now be honest about what it will actually take to end the violence of this culture.

We have to do more than just recite the numbers, or watch the films, or attend the conferences. We must do more than just abstain from consuming sexist, violent media, or purchasing consumer goods sold on the marketing of women’s bodies. We must do more, a whole lot more. Some of us are going to have to stop abusive men. Some of us are going to have to put our bodies on the line – place our bodies in between these men and the women they intend to abuse. And while physical intervention in interpersonal violence is not the primary focal point of men’s work against patriarchy (and is not applicable in most cases), profeminist men should support such actions when done in a smart, strategic manner.

We have to start treating abusive men like the enemy. No more of these vapid appeals to their humanity or their inner child or whatever else pacifists are coming up with to avoid doing what it takes. Sure, abusive men were once children, many of them abuse survivors themselves. But now they are abusive men. They are not children anymore. They are adult men who make the decision to break women’s bones, blacken their eyes and blast bullets into their skulls. They are adult men who choose to be paid to abuse women on camera, and then laugh about it in porn documentaries. If you do not fume with rage, then you are not paying attention. Start paying attention.

The fact that porn shops are still standing instead of roasting in flames is an affront to women everywhere. The fact that international activist and humanitarian organizations are defending johns and pimps instead of women should cause the planet to stop spinning on its axis. Instead what we see are men locking women in basements for decades, starving and raping them and then standing in court talking about how they actually enjoyed the abuse.

Men as a sex-caste hate women. We hate women just as much as whites as a caste hate people of color, and members of settler culture hate the indigenous. Do those statements make you angry and defensive? Good, they should. You should be appalled that we live in a culture that facilitates and rewards such grotesque behavior. Use that anger to confront those who abuse, go take that energy to them, not us, not the ones who are actually fighting for justice. Go confront men, not the women they abuse.

And if you refuse to do that – if you refuse to examine your own masculinity, your own culpability in men’s oppression of women, then all I can say to you is that you had better get out of the way and let us get this done. Otherwise, you are the enemy, and we will treat you as such.

We do not have any more time to plead with men and ask them nicely to stop abusing and murdering women and children. We do not have time to continue asking our governments to stop dropping bombs and using chemicals to kill and maim people around the world. We do not have time to ask corporations run by psychopathic men to stop destroying the planet. We have been asking nicely for hundreds of years, and nothing has changed. I am done with asking. I want to see porn studios burned to the ground. I want to see “men’s rights activists” fearing for their lives and hiding in their homes, because no one with the audacity to fabricate this fake movement should ever feel safe walking the streets. I want justice, and I will do whatever it takes to achieve it.

Escalation can mean physically intervening if we find ourselves witness to male violence, and it can also mean no longer allowing your buddy to speak or behave in sexist ways. It can mean publicly shaming abusers, speaking in support of women’s right to defend themselves however they need to do so, and actively challenging ourselves and other men to dismantle masculinity inside and out. Just as in any strategic resistance movement in which the very few capable resistors are on the front line and the rest are supporting, the vast majority of profeminist work should be undoing the culture. Ultimately, justice means that we have to start doing something about a culture in which men are either abusive or hardly doing anything at all to end abuse.

Profeminist men must escalate now, or we are not worth the two pennies our words claim. Every day we fail to be effective is another day women are tortured, enslaved and killed and I will be damned if I continue to sit back and let this happen. Profeminist men must say it and mean it: over our dead bodies will this culture continue.

Let’s Get Free! is a column by Kourtney Mitchell, a writer and activist from Georgia, primarily focusing on anti-oppression and building genuine alliance with oppressed communities. Contact him at kourtney.mitchell@gmail.com.

Let’s Get Free!: We Have The Means, Now Do What’s Necessary

Let’s Get Free!: We Have The Means, Now Do What’s Necessary

By Kourtney Mitchell / Deep Green Resistance

On June 28, 1964, Malcolm X gave a speech at the Founding Rally of the Organization for Afro-American Unity (OAAU) at the Audubon Ballroom in New York. In the speech, he stated what became his most famous quote:

We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.

Interestingly, X was popularizing a line from a play titled Dirty Hands by the French intellectual Jean-Paul Sartre, which debuted in 1948:

I was not the one to invent lies: they were created in a society divided by class and each of us inherited lies when we were born. It is not by refusing to lie that we will abolish lies: it is by eradicating class by any means necessary.

There are some really important ideas presented in both of these quotes. Sartre succinctly summarized the primary struggle for the socially conscious – that society as we know it is divided into classes, and that social change is not achieved merely by refusing to behave like dominant classes, but by ultimately dismantling the power structures upholding this stratification.

X’s spin on this was equally profound. The white power structure of his time enacted brutal and morally reprehensible repression on the masses of black people in the United States, and X was stating the very real yet existential condition: that this repression was a dehumanizing tactic, upheld by violence and enslavement, and that the response to this repression must equal the scope of the problem. Simply put, white supremacism will use any and all means necessary to maintain power, and thus those fighting against it must do the same.

The modern environmental and social justice movement could learn a thing or two from these quotes. Any one who is not meditating in a cave should realize by now that this culture we live in – industrial civilization – is quickly killing the planet. All life support systems on Earth are declining, and have been doing so for several decades. As a matter of fact, since the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, generally considered the birth of the modern environmental movement, there has not been a single peer-reviewed article contradicting that statement.

This should ring some alarms for everyone, but surely for those in the movement, right? One would think so, but unfortunately this does not seem to be the case. Instead, what we are seeing is a continued ignorance of the true scale of environmental destruction, and a refusal to be honest about what it will take to stop it. What we are seeing is a constant faith on popular protest and nonviolence as the end goal of resistance, a hegemonic adherence to pacifism.

At the same time that nearly all native prairies are disappearing, and insect populations are collapsing, and the oceans are being vacuumed, and nearly two hundred species of animals are going extinct every single day, women are also being raped at a rate of one every two minutes. A black male is killed by police or other vigilantes at a rate of one every 28 hours. There are more slaves today than at any time during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. And indigenous cultures and languages are being wiped off the planet.

It is apparently certain that for all of our good intentions – our feelings of loving-kindness, taking the moral high ground and being the change we wish to see in the world – we are failing, and miserably. We are losing.

This must change.

It is time to face the truth, a truth climate scientists, indigenous warriors and anyone who is half awake have been telling us for a really long time – our planet is being killed, and we must fight back to end the destruction before all life on the planet perishes for good.

A starting point for establishing an effective response to environmental destruction and social oppression is to develop a clear understanding of the mechanisms for this arrangement. The dominant classes of people who are enacting this brutality utilize concrete systems of power to do so, namely industrial capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy and human supremacism.

These institutions of power are run by people – human beings, who instead of holding a reverence for life and love of freedom, value privilege and power above all else. This system is based upon, and would quickly collapse without, widespread and pervasive violence. Privilege is upheld by violence, because no one willingly cedes their freedom and autonomy unless forced to do so.

There is a necessary realization one must have when considering all of this, and it is a realization many in the so-called movement are yet to have: as the oppression of human and non-human communities and the destruction of the planet is being enacted by a particular class of people – that is, a group of people sharing a real or perceived identity and having similar goals and the means to achieve those goals – it is also being endured by a particular class of people.

Men, as a class of people whose collective behavior has a very real effect, are oppressing women as a class. This is not to claim that every single man on the planet has some palpable sense of hating women, but it does mean that to be a man in this society is to behave in a socialized manner that oppresses women.

Whites as a class of people are oppressing people of color. This is not to say that every single white-identified person on the planet has some palpable sense of hating people of color, but that to be white in this society is to behave in a manner that oppresses people of color in at least some ways.

If the violence is enacted by classes, the resistance must also exist on the class-level. It has never been enough for the individual to make personal, lifestyle changes so that they can feel better about themselves while the rest of the people in their class suffer. Systems of oppression are not defeated by individuals – they are defeated by organizing with others, a collective struggle.

This is what it means to be radical. As radicals, we aim to get to the root of the problem. Radical anti-racists understand that the white identity is based upon privilege, and that privilege is inherently oppressive to people of color. Radical anti-sexists understand that the concept of gender is built upon male dominance and female submission, which is inherently oppressive to women. And radical environmentalists understand that industrial civilization – based upon extraction, destructive agricultural practices and the genocide of indigenous cultures – is killing the planet.

From there, we draw the line. A radical’s primary goal is not to combat the symptoms of oppression – we do not merely wish to navigate the gender spectrum, toying with it at will as some kind of protest. We wish to abolish gender, recognizing it as the primary basis for women’s oppression. And we do not wish to merely give people of color a bigger slice of the pie in the white supremacist power structure. We wish to abolish white supremacy altogether, and furthermore to overcome the concept of race itself. Radical environmentalists cannot afford to continue to espouse technological fixes for a problem caused by technology and extraction. No, industrial civilization is wholly irredeemable, and no amount of technology can fix it.

What should be apparent is that our movement needs more than nonviolence and good feelings. We need to mount a serious threat to the power structures, one that is forceful and continuous. We need militant action. Those killing the planet will not stop unless forced to do so.

Nonviolence is a powerful tactic when correctly applied, but it alone cannot match the scale of destruction. When coupled with strategic attacks on the infrastructure of oppression, it can result in concrete, lasting change.

And this is the strategy of Deep Green Resistance. As an aboveground movement, we use nonviolent direct action, putting our bodies between life and those who wish to destroy it. Though we have no connection to (and no desire to have a connection with) any underground that may exist, we actively support the formation of an underground, encouraging militant resistance that will bring down oppressive institutions for good.

DGR is also dedicated to the work of helping to rebuild or to build new, sustainable human communities. We are working towards a culture of resistance – where oppression and ecocide are not tolerated, and where people incorporate resistance into their everyday lives. We work to establish solidarity and genuine alliance with oppressed communities, always keeping an eye towards justice, liberating our hearts and minds from the hegemonic tendencies of privileged classes. DGR understands that marginalized communities have been on the front lines of resistance from the very beginning, defending their way of life and reclaiming their autonomy. For too long, pacifists and dogmatic nonviolent activists have left the hard work of actual resistance to those marginalized groups, shying away from the real fight. No more – it is now time for men to combat sexism, for whites to combat racism, and for the civilized of this culture to fight against industrial empire and bring it down.

This analysis and this strategy should be inspiring. But what is more inspiring is that we have the means to achieve our goals. We know how to bring down industrial capitalism, which is controlled by critical nodes of technology and extraction. When these nodes are attacked and brought down in a way preventing their rebuilding, the system begins to collapse. The mechanisms of control – the military, the police and the media – cannot operate without consistent input of fossil fuels and willing agents.

When this system falls, the living world will rejoice. Two hundred species of animals who would have gone extinct will instead live and flourish. Indigenous communities will reclaim their traditional homelands. The salmon will begin to spawn anew with each dam taken down, and the rivers will rush with life.

This is the world for which we fight. And we intend to win.

Let’s Get Free! is a column by Kourtney Mitchell, a writer and activist from Georgia, primarily focusing on anti-oppression and building genuine alliance with oppressed communities. Contact him at kourtney.mitchell@gmail.com.

Let’s Get Free!: Radicalizing Pro-Feminist Education for Men

Let’s Get Free!: Radicalizing Pro-Feminist Education for Men

By Kourtney Mitchell / Deep Green Resistance

The following speech was originally given at the Stop Porn Culture Conference at Wheelock College, Boston, in July 2013.

Hello everyone, my name is Kourtney Mitchell and I am a political activist and a member of the group Deep Green Resistance. We are a radical organization dedicated to social, political and environmental justice. As an organization we ally ourselves with indigenous communities, women, people of color and the poor. Our aim is to stop the destruction of the planet and the oppression of people and animals.

We are a relatively new organization just a couple of years old but we are growing and have numerous chapters with hundreds of activists around the world who are all dedicated to stopping the genocide of the planet.

So, I’ll offer just a brief background on my experience as a man with pro-feminist activism and educating men. I attended university and it was there that I first received academic and activist training in feminism and anti-violence through the peer education program on campus.

The peer education program consists of graduate students, faculty, and staff who train undergraduate volunteers. The training includes education about the widespread violence that women face and volunteers learn to give presentations to peers on rape, sexual assault, relationship violence, and feminism.

In turn, peers would then join our organizing efforts and events. This was the most profoundly significant and life changing time for me. To travel around the country raising awareness of violence against women, facilitating workshops, speak-outs, and protests was fulfilling, not to mention meaningful. The training threw me into another world, one in which violence and misogyny could no longer be ignored. Our advisors did a really comprehensive job of giving us an adequate scope of the problem, and creating a sense of urgency about these issues.

They helped facilitate the creation of a student culture based on the belief that it is possible to end violence against women, and knowing that possibility helped galvanize us to take action. Many of us went on to make this our life’s work.

My primary role in the campus activist community was recruiting and teaching men about pro-feminism and anti-violence. I helped lead the male ally program, which included a weekly discussion group, activism in the community, pro-feminist art and performance, and collaborations with other similar programs around the country.

I remember vividly the anxiety of pouring over every detail of presentations I would be giving to men, worrying if the way I presented concepts was too complicated or if men would shut down for the rest of the talk if I said something too complicated. I left some events feeling like no one was reachable, but I also walked away feeling really good about the successes which were accomplished.

Many men joined our organizations and became quite active – some because they just felt it was the right thing to do, but many more because of personal experiences and the experiences of their loved ones. Several men randomly wandered into our office and left planning to attend the next ally meeting, and sure enough did continue coming. This was just one of the many things that kept me optimistic about bringing more men to pro-feminist ideas and activism.

Unfortunately, the campus activist community was largely liberal and very much influenced by queer theory. Pornography was widely accepted, and a real revolution against the patriarchal order was more joked about than seriously considered. It wasn’t until I was introduced to the radical feminist perspective that I began to see the flaws of the liberal approach to pro-feminist education.

The liberal approach leaves out an important aspect of the violence men commit against women: that men hate women. It’s important to say that out loud and allow it to inform our actions. The dominant culture is insane. Its norms and values are pathological, and it socializes people into roles that encourage, even necessitate abuse and exploitation in order to fulfill accepted social roles.

The systems of rewards in this culture makes it appear as if the masculine identity and domination imperative are in our best interest, and dissent is seen as blasphemy — a violation of a sacred order.

And that sacred order is gender.

Masculinity fraternizes men into a veritable cult, one that requires violence and callousness in order to ensure the privileges of membership. The liberal approach has been able to raise the awareness of some men concerning the male violence, but it doesn’t challenge men on the mechanism of their oppression of women.

Just when I thought we could really get somewhere with bringing men into pro-feminist activism, the radical analysis gave me a hard dose of reality. I had always thought that if we could just get men to stop and think for a minute, to look around and see the world for what it really is, to get them to cultivate some empathy, then maybe we could start to see a reversal of toxic male culture. What I learned was that it’s hard enough to get men to consider feminism at all let alone to consider challenging their own behavior.

Once you start to get too radical, most men shut down or lash out against it. A few really do embrace it, and that’s something I hold on to—that there are some men out there who are thoughtful enough, and self-reflective enough, and honest enough to internalize the hard truths—but I also realize that most men will never be genuine allies. In fact, most so-called radical men have proven that they are not only incapable of understanding the radical feminist analysis of gender but that they will actively fight against women who espouse it.

The liberal approach to activism is disheartening because it constantly conditions activists to keep working to build an impossible mass movement, and it keeps people hopeful that this can actually happen if they keep spending time and resources on it.

We talk to men about the violence, give them all the evidence they need, and it’s still like trying to drill a hole through a brick wall. I could just as easily take a more passive approach when talking to men and cut them some slack because patriarchy and masculinity do cause men suffering, but last time I checked, emotionally and psychologically mature adults don’t ignore or gloss over the hard truths. Instead those hard truths need to be faced, and men have no excuse to stay passive on this.

Genuine alliance with women means prioritizing the goals of liberation as they are articulated by women and for women, no matter the insecurity and defensiveness men may feel.

As a radical political person of color, I do not accept surface-level activism against white supremacy and privilege. I see the impact of racist oppression in and on my community every single day, and it would be antithetical to my interest in the preservation of my people to avoid engaging with racist culture on a radical level. The oppression of my people needs to end by any means necessary, and this includes the end of the social construction of race.

I wrote an article critiquing white backlash against militant anti-racism, and of course I received still more white backlash. I believe that some white people will agree with me and I hope this is true for pro-feminist alliance with women as well.

Even at my young age I feel that I have spent a long time trying to find the right way to tell men the truth of the widespread violence that women face, but it seems as though the violence is only increasing. I can only imagine the road that some of the women here have walked and the frustration they feel in seeing the violence continue and grow exponentially.

It’s too much. The radical analysis is needed. The situation is urgent and getting worse by the day and I feel like it oftentimes takes so long to educate men and get them to do something, anything.

Some have said to me that I’m impatient. I say I’m fed up. So many men have sided with the violence of this culture and have made themselves the enemy of women and their genuine liberation. And this is pretty simple to me – if a man is an enemy of women, then he is an enemy of mine. Men need to be told, regardless of whether or not they want to hear it, that nothing less than the complete dismantling of patriarchy is acceptable, and men who don’t declare their allegiance to women have sided with the oppressors and they should be treated as such.

Men must try and understand what it takes to become real allies – constant self-critique, checking our privilege, and becoming mindful and aware of when our socialization is causing us to behave in abusive ways. We need to deconstruct this socialized person we’ve been conditioned to become and discover who we are as human beings.

I’ve been told that ultimately men aren’t ready to make comprehensive personal and political changes and to dismantle male culture, and I say so what? It’s ridiculous to think how many men will reject the simple suggestion that they try to become decent human beings. You can’t argue with a person like that. Meanwhile, women are raped on public transportation while the driver looks on and does nothing. A girl is raped in class and the teacher does nothing about it. Women are locked in basements for a decade, or enslaved or beaten or killed. At what point do we as men admit that men hate women and want to harm them?

When do we as men prioritize the safety, integrity and autonomy of women and give men the ultimatum: either you’re with women or you’re against them.

If you want to look at this from the perspective of approaching men in a way that encourages them to engage with us, rather than shutting down and ignoring us, then I can understand that. Sometimes you need to meet people where they are so you can increase the chance of them actually listening and considering what you have to say. This is a long process and oftentimes it takes several intense conversations on these issues with the same men over a period of time to get it to click. Sadly, we don’t always have that kind of time, and most men wouldn’t take the time anyway.

I think it’s important to focus our efforts on constantly engaging and challenging men on their abuse and misogyny and demonstrating to men who insist on continuing that abuse that they will be met with resistance. We will put an end to their abuse using whatever means we have to. They are the ones who cannot be reasoned with, and force is the only language they understand.

A crucial aspect of genuine alliance with women is that it’s our responsibility to educate other men, not women’s responsibility. Saying it’s a women’s issue ignores the perpetrator. It is unfair to leave this work to women who daily endure the onslaught of patriarchal violence. Women have a right to organize away from men, and to demand that we take responsibility for our actions. No, most of us men did not ask for this kind of world. And no, most of us didn’t play an integral part in constructing it. But because we are socialized into it as members of the dominant class; because we are conditioned to use our genitals as weapons against women; and because we are rewarded for doing so, we must do the hard work of separating ourselves from this unfortunate set of affairs and confronting men who refuse to do the same. What do we value more—privilege or justice? Privilege may be comfortable for a while, maybe even for a long time, but eventually it results in the same kind of horrible state of affairs that the planet is currently enduring.

I have had some success presenting this issue to men in the following manner: what does it mean to live in a culture so oppressive to women that they have a good reason to hate us? What does it mean for us that every woman with whom we come into contact can legitimately consider us a potential rapist or batterer? Is this the kind of world we want to live in— a world in which every relationship we have with women is fraught with the anxiety of being perceived as violent simply for being a man? Personally, I do not want to live in this kind of world.

Men need to be given the radical perspective, or else we are simply training them to be ineffective in addressing the problem we claim to care so much about. Just as in radical environmentalism where we base strategy and tactics on the numbers we have so we can be most effective with those numbers, we should do the same with radical pro-feminist education of men. We leverage force against male supremacy and teach each other how to become more complete human beings, how to build loving and nurturing communities, and how to abandon the pathology central to our abuse. This work hasn’t ever been and won’t ever be easy, but it’s necessary and we have a planet and its community of life to save.

Time is short. We should not be prepared to accept any more of this violence. We have a responsibility to ourselves, our loved ones, and future generations to end the violence or die trying.

Thank you.