Resistance News for February 2019

Resistance News

February 7, 2019

by Max Wilbert

Deep Green Resistance

max@maxwilbert.org

https://www.deepgreenresistance.org

 

Current atmospheric CO2 level (daily high at Mauna Loa): 411.37 PPM

A free monthly newsletter providing analysis and commentary on ecology, global capitalism, empire, and revolution.

For back issues, to read this issue online, or to subscribe via email or RSS, visit the Resistance News web page.

Most of these essays also appear on the DGR News Service, which also includes an active comment section.

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In this issue:

  1. Workshops and Training: Bring Deep Green Resistance activists to your community
  2. Communists call for protection for women’s spaces
  3. Ecologists rise up to Rojava
  4. Biko: Some African Cultural Concepts
  5. Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples Lead Global “Red January” Protests
  6. Political Education 101
  7. Implementing Decisive Ecological Warfare
  8. Why Decisive Dismantling and Warfare?
  9. Green Technology FAQ
  10. Submit your material to the Deep Green Resistance News Service
  11. Further news and recommended reading / podcasts
  12. How to support DGR or get involved

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In certain situations, preaching nonviolence can be a kind of violence. Also, it is the kind of terminology that dovetails beautifully with the “human rights” discourse in which, from an exalted position of faux neutrality, politics, morality, and justice can be airbrushed out of the picture, all parties can be declared human rights offenders, and the status quo can be maintained.”

– Arundhati Roy

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Workshops and Training: Bring Deep Green Resistance activists to your community

[Link] Cost: Sliding scale. We generally ask that you cover travel, food, and lodging but may request a stipend for the trainers if your budget allows. We will work with you to make the training affordable. We can also assist with promoting your training.

Content: Our trainings are tailored to your needs. Typical subjects we cover include:

  • Grand strategy
  • Campaign strategy
  • Non-violent direct action tactics: practical skills training (climbing, tripods and other structures, lockboxes, etc.)
  • Know your rights, police interactions, and jail support
  • Security culture
  • Community organizing
  • Leadership and decision-making
  • Secure communications
  • Resistance art
  • Liberalism vs. Radicalism
  • Intro to Decisive Ecological Warfare (DGR strategy)

Direct Assistance: What if you need help instead of training? Our activists will travel to your location and work with you for up to 10 days on campaign planning, strategy, recruitment, outreach, tactics, etc.

Interested?

Contact Us: training@deepgreenresistance.org

For sensitive info: Contact us securely via PGP. (Download our PGP key here, fingerprint 6DD7 D435 6E52 88FF CB50 ADBF 5DD0 30E2 B1A8 616A)

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Communists call for protection for women’s spaces

[Link] by Morning Star (Communist Party of Britain)

COMMUNISTS called for protection of women’s spaces and preservation of “separate spaces and distinct services to protect women from violence and abuse” today.

 

The party’s biennial congress said that women’s rights won over decades of struggle were “under sustained ideological attack,” thanks to the “growth and ascendancy of neoliberal philosophy across a range of intellectual fields.”

 

It adopted a resolution expressing concern at “the divisive debate around self-identification which conflates ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ which could threaten the rights of women and girls” and committed members to fight for a wider understanding of these problems in the labour movement.

 

Delegates discussed the attacks on women who raised concerns about self-identification and attempts to no-platform or silence them, including attacks on the Morning Star for agreeing to publish articles on the subject.

 

Mover Mary Davis of the London district said that socialism would be unattainable without “an understanding of the link between women’s oppression and class exploitation.”

 

 

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Ecologists rise up for Rojava

 

[Link] The Mesopotamian Ecology Movement and Make Rojava Green Again call on all ecologists to join the global action days on January 27th and 28th in solidarity with the green revolution in Rojava.

 

The call was signed by the following organisations and individuals:

 

Organisations:

  • Earth First (UK)
  • Extinction Rebellion International
  • Institute for Social Ecology (USA)
  • Earth Strike
  • Symbiotic Horizon (UK)
  • Ende Gelände (Germany)
  • Hambacher Forst Besetzung (Germany)
  • Kurdistan Solidarity Network (UK)
  • Hunt Saboteur Association (UK)
  • Revolutionärer Aufbau Schweiz (Switzerland)
  • Demand Utopia (USA)
  • System Change Not Climate Change (Austria)
  • Kollektif Solidarité Liège-Rojava (Belgium)
  • Deep Green Resistance (USA)
  • YXK – Verband der Studierenden aus Kurdistan (Germany)
  • Rote Hilfe International
  • Rojavakomiteerna (Sweden)
  • Red Phoenix Sports Club Dublin (Ireland)
  • The Black Throng Orchestra (Sweden)
  • Plan C (UK)
  • TATORT Kurdistan (Germany)
  • Internationaler Kultur- und Solidaritätsverein Regensburg (Germany)
  • Interventionistische Linke, Ortsgruppen: Hamburg, Berlin, Rhein-Neckar, Nürnberg (Germany); Linksjugend solid Ortsgruppen Berlin Spandau, Konstanz (Germany)
  • Landsforeningen Økologisk Byggeri (Denmark)
  • Defend Rojava Köln (Germany)
  • Klimakollektivet
  • Free the Soil

 

People:

 

  • Jean Ziegler – Sociologist, Author, Member of the Advisory Committee of the UN Human Rights Council, CH
  • Dorian Wallace – Composer, Pianist, US
  • David Graeber – anthropologist and activist, US
  • Gökay Akbulut – Member of Parliamant DIE LINKE, Germany
  • Anja Flach – writer and activist, Germany
  • Thomas Schmiedinger – Political Scientist, Austria
  • John Parker – Specialist for Arboriculture and Landscape, UK
  • Kerem Schamberger – communication scientist, Germany
  • Giovanni Russo Spena – Laywer, Italy
  • Simon Jacob – Chairman of the Central Council of Oriental Christians, Germany
  • Chris Williamson – Member of Parliament Labour Party, UK
  • Ismail Küpeli – Historian and Political Scientist, Germany
  • Eva Bulling-Schröter – Umweltausschuss DIE LINKE, Bavaria
  • Mohammed Elnaiem – Minister of Foreign Affairs in 400+1 black liberation movement, UK
  • Dilar Dirik – Kurdish Women Movement and writer, UK
  • Tannie Nyboe – Ecologist, Denmark

 

 

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Biko: Some African Cultural Concepts

 

[Link] by Steve Biko

 

One of the most difficult things to do these days is to talk with authority on anything to do with African Culture. Somehow Africans are not expected to have any deep understanding of their own culture or even of themselves. Other people have become authorities on all aspects of the African life or to be more accurate on Bantu life. Thus we have the thickest of volumes on some of the strangest subjects – even “the feeding habits of the Urban Africans,” a publication by a fairly “liberal” group, Institute of Race Relations.

 

In my opinion, it is not necessary to talk with Africans about African culture. However, in the light of the above statements one realises that there is so much confusion sown, not only amongst casual non-African readers, but even amongst Africans themselves, that perhaps sincere attempt should be made emphasising the authentic cultural aspects of the African people by Africans themselves.

 

Since that unfortunate date – 1652 – we have been experiencing a process of acculturation. It is perhaps presumptuous to call it “acculturation” because this term implies a fusion of different cultures.

 

In our case this fusion has been extremely one-sided. The two major cultures that met and “fused” were the African Culture and the Anglo-Boer Culture.

 

Whereas the African culture was unsophisticated and simple, the Anglo-Boer culture had all the trappings of a colonialist culture and therefore was heavily equipped for conquest.

 

Where they could, they conquered by persuasion, using a highly exclusive religion that denounced all other Gods and demanded a strict code of behaviour with respect to clothing, education ritual and custom. Where it was impossible to convert, fire-arms were readily available and used to advantage. Hence the Anglo-Boer culture was the more powerful culture in almost all facets. This is where the African began to lose a grip on himself and his surroundings.

 

Thus in taking a look at cultural aspects of the African people one inevitably finds himself having to compare. This is primarily because of the contempt that the “superior” culture shows towards the indigenous culture. To justify its exploitative basis, the Anglo Boer culture has at all times been directed at bestowing an inferior status to all cultural aspects of the indigenous people.

 

I am against the belief that African culture is time-bound, the notion that with the conquest of the African all his culture was obliterated. I am also against the belief that when one talks of African culture one is necessarily talking of the pre-Van Riebeeck culture. Obviously the African has had to sustain severe blows and may have been battered nearly out of shape by the belligerent cultures it collided with, yet in essence even today, one can easily find the fundamental aspects of the pure African culture in the present day African. Hence in taking a look at African culture, I am going to refer as well to what I have termed the modern African culture.

 

One of the most fundamental aspect of our culture is the importance we attach to Man. Ours has always been a Man-centred society. Westerners have in many occasions been surprised at the capacity we have for talking to each other – not for the sake of arriving at a particular conclusion but merely to enjoy the communication for its own sake. Intimacy is a term not exclusive for particular friends but to a whole group of people who find themselves either through work or through residential requirements.

 

In fact, in the traditional African culture, there is no such thing as two friends. Conversation groups were more or less naturally boys whose job was to look after cattle periodically meeting at popular spots to engage in conversation about their cattle, girlfriends, parents, heroes, etc. All commonly shared their secrets, joys and woes. No one felt unnecessarily an intruder into someone else’s business. The curiosity manifested was welcome. It came out of a desire to share. This pattern one would find in all age groups. House visiting was always a feature of the elderly folk’s way of life. No reason was needed as a basis for visits. It was always part of our deep concern for each other.

 

These are things never done in the Westerner’s culture. A visitor to someone’s house, with the exception of friends, is always met with the question “what can I do for you?” This attitude to see people not as themselves but as agents for some particular function either to one’s disadvantage or advantage is foreign to us. We are not a suspicious race. We believe in the inherent goodness of man. We enjoy man for himself. We regard our living together not as an unfortunate mishap warranting endless competition among us but as a deliberate act of God to make us a community of brothers and sisters jointly involved in the quest for a composite answer to the varied problems of life. Hence in all we do we always place Man first and hence all our action is usually jointly community oriented action rather than the individualism which is the hallmark of the capitalist approach. We always refrain from using people as stepping stones. Instead we are prepared to have a much slower progress in an effort to make sure that all of us are marching to the same tune.

 

Nothing dramatises the eagerness of the African to communicate with each other more than their love for song and rhythm. Music in the African culture features in all emotional states. When we go to work, we share the burdens and pleasures of the work we are doing through music. This particular facet strangely enough has filtered through the present day. Tourists always watch with amazement the synchrony of music and action as African working at a road side use their picks and shovels with well-timed precision to the accompaniment of a background song. Battle songs were a feature of the long march to war in the olden days. Girls and boys never played any games without using music and rhythm as its basis. in other words with Africans, music and rhythm were a not luxuries but part and parcel of our way of communication. Any suffering we experienced was made much more real by song and rhythm. There is no doubt that the so called “Negro spirituals” sung by Black slaves in the States as they toiled under oppression were indicative of their African heritage…

 

Attitudes of Africans to property again show just how un-individualistic the African is. As everybody here knows, Africans always believe in having many villages with a controllable number of people in each rather than the reverse. This obviously was a requirement to suit the needs of a community-based and man-centred society. Hence most things where jointly owned by the group, for instance there was no such thing as individual land ownership. The land belonged to the people and was under the control of the local chief on behalf of the people. When cattle went to graze it was on an open veld and not on anybody’s specific farm.

 

Farming and agriculture, though on individualistic family basis, had many characteristics of joint efforts. Each person could by a simple request and holding a special ceremony, invite neighbours to come and work on his plots. This service was returned in kind and no remuneration was ever given.

 

Poverty was a foreign concept. This could only be really brought about to the entire community by an adverse climate during a particular season. It never was considered repugnant to ask one’s neighbours for help if one was struggling. In almost all instances there was help between individuals, tribe and tribe, chief and chief, etc. even in spite of war.

 

Another important aspect of the African culture is our mental attitude to problems presented by life in general. Whereas the Westerner is geared to use a problem-solving approach following very trenchant analyses, our approach is that of situation-experiencing. I will quote from Dr. Kaunda to illustrate this point:

 

“The westerner has an aggressive mentality. When he sees a problem he will not rest until he has formulated some solution to it. He cannot live with contradictory ideas in his mind; he must settle for one or the other or else evolve a third idea in his mind, which harmonises or reconciles the other two. And he is vigorously scientific in rejecting solutions for which there is no basis in logic. He draws a sharp line between the natural and the supernatural, the rational and non-rational, and more often than not, he dismissed the supernatural and non-rational as superstition…

 

“Africans, being a pre-scientific people do not recognise any conceptual cleavage between the natural and supernatural. They experience a situation rather than face a problem. By this I mean they allow both the rational and non-rational elements to make an impact upon them and any action they may take could be described more as a response of the total personality of the situation than the result of some mental exercise.”

 

This I find a most apt analysis of the essential difference in the approach to life of these two groups. We as a community are prepared to accept that nature will have its enigmas which are beyond our powers to solve. Many people have interpreted this attitude as lack of initiative and drive yet in spite of my belief in the strong need for scientific experimentation, I cannot help feeling that more time also should be spent in teaching man and man to live together and that perhaps the African personality with its attitude of laying less stress on power and more stress on man is well on the way to solving our confrontation problems.

 

All people are agreed that Africans are a deeply religious race. In the various forms of worship that one found throughout the Southern part of our continent, there was at least a common basis. We all accepted without any doubt the existence of a God. We had our own community of saints. We believed – and this was consistent with our views of life – that all people who died had a special place next to God. We felt that communication with God, could only be through these people. We never knew anything about hell – we do not believe that God can create people only to punish them eternally after a short period on earth.

 

Another aspect of religious practices was the occasion of worship. Again we did not believe that religion could be featured as a separate part of our existence on earth. It was manifest in our daily lives. We thanked God through our ancestors before we drank beer, married, worked, etc. we would obviously find it artificial to create special occasions for worship. Neither did we see it logical to have a particular building in which all worship would be conducted. We believed that God was always in communication with us and therefore merited attention everywhere and anywhere.

 

It was the missionaries who confused our people with their new religion. By some strange logic, they argued that theirs was a scientific religion and ours was mere superstition in spite of the biological discrepancies so obvious in the basis of their religion. They further went on to preach a theology of existence of hell, scaring our fathers and mothers with stories about burning in eternal flames and gnashing of teeth and grinding of bone. The cold cruel religion was strange to us but our fore-fathers were sufficiently scared of the unknown impending anger to believe that it was worth a try. Down went our cultural values!

 

Yet it is difficult to kill the African heritage. There remains, in spite of the superficial cultural similarities between the detribalised and Westerner, a number of cultural characteristics that mark out the detribalised as an African…

 

The advent of the Western culture had changed our outlook almost drastically. No more could we run our own affairs. We were required to fit in as people tolerated with great restraint in a western type society. We were tolerated simply because our cheap labour is needed. Hence we are judged in terms of standards we are not responsible for. Whenever colonisation sets in with its dominant culture, it devours the native culture and leaves behind a bastardised culture. This is what has happened to the African culture. It is called a sub-culture purely because the African people in the urban complexes are mimicking the white man rather unashamedly.

 

In rejecting Western values therefore, we are rejecting those things that are not only foreign to us but that seek to destroy the most cherished of our beliefs – that the coner-stone of society is man himself – not just his welfare. Not his material well being but just man himself with all his ramifications. We reject the power-based society of the Westerner that seems to be ever concerned with perfecting their technological know-how while losing out on their spiritual dimension. We believe that in the long run the special contribution to the world by Africa will be in this field of human relationship. The great powers of the world may have done wonders in giving an industrial and military look, but the greatest gift still has to come from Africa – giving the world a more human face.

 

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Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples Lead Global “Red January” Protests

 

[Link] By Survival International

 

Protests against the anti-indigenous policies of Brazil’s President Bolsonaro are occurring in Brazil and around the world to mark his first month in power.

 

Demonstrators held placards declaring “Stop Brazil’s genocide now!” and “Bolsonaro: protect indigenous land.”

 

The protests have been led by APIB, the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, as the culmination of their “Indigenous blood – not a single drop more” campaign, known as “Red January.”

 

Before he was elected president, Mr Bolsonaro was notorious for his racist views. Among his first acts on assuming power was to remove responsibility for indigenous land demarcation from Brazil’s Indigenous Affairs Department FUNAI, and hand it to the notoriously anti-Indian Agriculture Ministry, which Survival labelled “virtually a declaration of war against Brazil’s tribal peoples.”

 

President Bolsonaro also moved FUNAI to a new ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights headed by an evangelical preacher, a move designed to drastically weaken FUNAI.

 

Emboldened by the new President and his long history of anti-indigenous rhetoric, attacks by ranchers and gunmen against Indian communities have risen dramatically.

 

The territory of the Uru Eu Wau Wau Indians, for example, has been invaded, endangering uncontacted tribespeople there; and hundreds of loggers and colonists are planning to occupy the land of the Awá, one of Earth’s most threatened tribes.

 

But Brazil’s indigenous people have reacted with defiance. “We’ve been resisting for 519 years. We won’t stop now. We’ll put all our strength together and we’ll win,” said Rosilene Guajajara. And Ninawa Huni Kuin said: “We fight to protect life and land. We will defend our nation.”

 

APIB said: “We have the right to exist. We won’t retreat. We’ll denounce this government around the world.”

 

Survival International’s Director Stephen Corry said today: “Having suffered 500 years of genocide and massacres, Brazil’s tribal peoples are not going to be cowed by President Bolsonaro, however abhorrent and outdated his views are. And it’s been inspiring to see how many people around the world are standing with them.”

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Political Education 101

 

[Link] by Boris Forkel / Deep Green Resistance Germany

 

The idea for this article came to me when I heard a man say at a demonstration that he was confused because he didn’t know if he was “right” or “left”. It therefore seems important to define such seemingly basic political terms as sharply and clearly as possible.

 

The terms “left” and “right” as political terms have their origins in the French Revolution. At the first French National Assemblies, the traditionally “more honorable” seat to the right of the President of Parliament was reserved for the nobility, so that the bourgeoisie sat on the left. Therefore, those who want more equality are called “left” until today, while those who want to preserve existing power structures are called “right”.

 

Some definitions:

 

“By ‘left’ we mean a commitment to social change towards greater equality – political, economic or social. By ‘right’ we mean the support of a more or less hierarchical social order and an opposition to change towards equality”.1

 

“Right”: who tries to stabilize and preserve the respective centers of power (e.g. monarchy, economic elites) and the structures on which this power is based (e.g. church, colonialism, slavery, corporate capitalism).

“Left”: who advocates the recognition of the equality of all human beings and for a democratic containment of power.2

 

The French philosopher Geoffroy de Lagasnerie defines “left” as follows: “To define the left, I increasingly rely on a term from Sartre – authenticity. I believe that the point is to be authentic in one’s relationship to the world, to free oneself from all the preconditions that define one’s own situation. One must not bend oneself, one must not gloss over the reality of the world as it is, and that means one cannot do anything other than stand up against this world. To be left basically means not to close one’s eyes to the truth. (…) Pierre Bourdieu has, in my opinion, provided the best definition. He said: To be right means to believe that the problems of the world are that there is no order. So we need more order. The left, on the other hand, is convinced that there is too much order, so it wants more disorder. The left must defend itself against the excess of order, against the ruling systems, against oppression, against persecution, against criminal oppression. It must create disorder, chaos, resistance.”

 

Ultimately, these definitions can be reduced to two fundamentally different conceptions: “right”: Humans are minors and must be controlled and educated by a ruling power. “left”: Humans are of age and must be as free as possible.

 

Liberalism:

 

“Liberalism (Latin liber “free”; liberalis “concerning freedom, liberal”) is a fundamental position of political philosophy and a historical and contemporary movement that strives for a liberal political, economic and social order. Liberalism emerged from the English revolutions of the 17th century.”3

 

“For the first time in many countries, nation states and democratic systems emerged from liberal citizen movements.“4

 

Historical liberalism essentially meant the liberation of the bourgeoisie from the rule of the church and aristocracy. In particular, liberalism plays an extremely important role in the emergence of modern capitalism and the history of the United States. Lierre Keith, co-author of the book Deep Green Resistance, explains the history of liberalism in dept in the chapter Liberals and Radicals:

 

“(…) classical liberalism was the founding ideology of the US, and the values of classical liberalism—for better and for worse—have dispersed around the globe. The ideology of classical liberalism developed against the hegemony of theocracy. The king and church had all the economic, political, and ideological power. In bringing that power down, classic liberalism helped usher in the radical analysis and political movements that followed. But the ideology has limits, both historically and in its contemporary legacy.

 

“The original founding fathers of the United States were not after a human rights utopia. They were merchant capitalists tired of the restrictions of the old order. The old world had a very clear hierarchy. This basic pattern is replicated in all the places that civilizations have arisen. There’s God (sometimes singular, sometimes plural) at the top, who directly chooses both the king and the religious leaders. These can be one and the same or those functions can be split. Underneath them are the nobles, the priests, and the military. (…) Beneath them are the merchants, traders, and skilled craftsmen. The base of the pyramid contains the bulk of the population: people in slavery, serfdom, or various forms of indenture. And all of this is considered God’s will, which makes resistance that much more difficult psychologically. Standing up to an abuser—whether an individual or a vast system of power—is never easy. Standing up to capital “G” God requires an entirely different level of courage, which may explain why this arrangement appears universally across civilizations and why it is so intransigent.

 

“In the West, one of the first blows against the Divine Right of Kings was in 1215, when some of the landed aristocracy forced King John to sign Magna Carta. It required the king to renounce some privileges and to respect legal procedures. (…) Magna Carta plunged England into a civil war, the First Baron’s War. (…)

 

“The American Revolution can be seen as another Baron’s revolt. This time it was the merchant-barons, the rising capitalist class, waging a rebellion against the king and the landed gentry of England. They wanted to take the king and the aristocrats out of the equation, so that the flow of power went God➝property owners. When they said ‘All men are created equal,’ they meant very specifically white men who owned property. That property included black people, white women, and more generally, the huge pool of laborers who were needed to turn this continent from a living landbase into private wealth. (…) Under the rising Protestant ethic, amassing wealth was a sign of God’s favor and God’s grace. God was still operable, he’d just switched allegiance from the old inherited powers to the rising mercantile class.

 

“Classical liberalism values the sovereignty of the individual, and asserts that economic freedom and property rights are essential to that sovereignty. John Locke, called the Father of Liberalism, made the argument that the individual instead of the community was the foundation of society. He believed that government existed by the consent of the governed, not by divine right. But the reason government is necessary is to defend private property, to keep people from stealing from each other. This idea appealed to the wealthy for an obvious reason: they wanted to keep their wealth. From the perspective of the poor, things look decidedly different. The rich are able to accumulate wealth by taking the labor of the poor and by turning the commons into privately owned commodities; therefore, defending the accumulation of wealth in a system that has no other moral constraints is in effect defending theft, not protecting against it. Classical liberalism from Locke forward has a contradiction at its center. It believes in human sovereignty as a natural or inalienable right, but only against the power of a monarchy or other civic tyranny. By loosening the ethical constraints that had existed on the wealthy, classical liberalism turned the powerless over to the economically powerful, simply swapping the monarchs for the merchant-barons. Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, provided the ethical justification for unbridled capitalism.“

 

In the meantime, capitalism and the mercantile class have conquered the whole world. Money rules the world, as we all know.

 

The liberal ideology and its underlying individualism has proven itself as one of the most effective instruments of power, because people who believe that they are free will not resist. “I freed hundreds of slaves. And I would have freed hundreds more if they but known they were slaves,“ said Harriet Tubman.

 

Yet the first step toward real freedom comes with the radical analysis: “One of the cardinal differences between liberals—those who insist that Everything Will Be Okay—and the truly radical is in their conception of the basic unit of society. This split is a continental divide. Liberals believe that a society is made up of individuals. Individualism is so sacrosanct that, in this view, being identified as a member of a group or class is an insult. But for radicals, society is made up of classes (economic ones in Marx’s original version) or any groups or castes. In the radical’s understanding, being a member of a group is not an affront. Far from it; identifying with a group is the first step toward political consciousness and ultimately effective political action.”

 

The basic problems today are still essentially the same as in the famous story of Robin Hood, which takes place at the time of the above mentioned Magna Carta: The rich oppress the poor and steal from them. But by now, a huge pile of ideology has been added to justify this oppression and theft.

 

Neoliberalism:

 

During the 20th century, liberalism has emerged into neoliberalism, which has been described by Rainer Mausfeld as “the most powerful and sophisticated indoctrination system a political ideology has ever seen”.5

 

“Neoliberalism, unlike traditional capitalism, is (…) from the beginning consciously twinned with a massive formation of ideology. It was clear to the founding fathers — who came from very different fields — of that what constitutes neoliberal ideology today, that this program is never feasible democratically.

 

“So they knew — and Hayek explicitly says it — that they have to conquer the language, they have to conquer the brains. Neoliberalism depends on that more than any other ideology. More than any, including communism. One can say in all other things that there is something positive behind it, even though it has been betrayed and might be something completely different now.

 

“Neoliberalism, ‘take it from below and give it to the top,’ as a gigantic redistribution programme, was from the beginning geared towards extreme formation of ideology. And it is so ingenious and so refined — it goes back to Lippman, Bernays and so on — that they have consciously developed techniques, so that what today is called the neoliberal self is so highly fragmented and actually consists only of false identities. The identity is, ideally, their Facebook account, the smartphone they use, the car they drive, the type of Rolex they wear, the food they eat and so on. Identities have become market products that can be bought. This fragmentation has the advantage that an integral self, which could be a core of resistance, is actually no longer there in a totalitarian structure, because the grown social solidarity no longer exists.

 

“I am part of a community only through solidarity with others. But if I no longer identify myself with others as a community, but with market products, then solidarity will also be destroyed.

 

“…neoliberalism has from the beginning actually stressed the importance of [destroying] our psychological resistance to the decomposition of society, which was explicit when Thatcher said “there is no community”. There is only a pile of atomized individuals and their task is to optimize their individual use as best they can. Everyone is a small “Me Inc.” and if someone fails, he/she was just a poor “Me Inc.” -that’s what the market regulates- […] and if someone succeeds, he/she has adapted well to the market. So neoliberalism is a kind of infamous combination and not just an economic program. Neoliberalism is totalitarian in the sense that — Thatcher also said that — […] ‘it’s not just about the economy, it’s about conquering the brains.’

 

“It is, so to speak, as ideology invisible. Many of us in our society have the feeling: the society in which there is no longer any real ideology — unlike in Russia or China — that’s us. This invisibility of ideology itself is one of the most gigantic achievements of ideology production.”6

 

At the beginning of the 20th century, the famous catastrophe of the Titanic has already shown us in strong pictures and metaphors how this technocracy will end. In neoliberalism, the upper classes are still dancing, while the lower classes are already drowning. Those on top don’t know (and don’t want to know) how those below are doing.

 

The ideology rains down from top to bottom:

 

“The Titanic is unsinkable! Everything is fine! We are all fine! And if you’re not well, it’s your own fault, you just don’t row hard enough.”

 

They don’t want to see that the whole ship is already sinking.

 

With the words of Max Wilbert: “We are well along the path towards global fascism, total war, ubiquitous surveillance, normalized patriarchy and racism, a permanent refugee crisis, water and food shortages, and ecological collapse. We need to build legitimate movements to dismantle global capitalism. All work is useful towards this end.”

 

It’s time for a global uprising. The lower classes should organize and turn their gaze — and their weapons — to the top.

 

Our common goal must be to deprive the rich of their ability to steal from the poor and the powerful of their ability to destroy the planet.

 

Stand up.

 

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Implementing Decisive Ecological Warfare

 

[Link] Editor’s note: The following is from the chapter “Decisive Ecological Warfare” of the book Deep Green Resistance: A Strategy to Save the  Planet. This book is now available for free online.

 

by Aric McBay

 

It’s important to note that, as in the case of protracted popular warfare, Decisive Ecological Warfare is not necessarily a linear progression. In this scenario resisters fall back on previous phases as necessary. After major setbacks, resistance organizations focus on survival and networking as they regroup and prepare for more serious action. Also, resistance movements progress through each of the phases, and then recede in reverse order. That is, if global industrial infrastructure has been successfully disrupted or fragmented (phase IV) resisters return to systems disruption on a local or regional scale (phase III). And if that is successful, resisters move back down to phase II, focusing their efforts on the worst remaining targets.

And provided that humans don’t go extinct, even this scenario will require some people to stay at phase I indefinitely, maintaining a culture of resistance and passing on the basic knowledge and skills necessary to fight back for centuries and millennia.

The progression of Decisive Ecological Warfare could be compared to ecological succession. A few months ago I visited an abandoned quarry, where the topsoil and several layers of bedrock had been stripped and blasted away, leaving a cubic cavity several stories deep in the limestone. But a little bit of gravel or dust had piled up in one corner, and some mosses had taken hold. The mosses were small, but they required very little in the way of water or nutrients (like many of the shoestring affinity groups I’ve worked with). Once the mosses had grown for a few seasons, they retained enough soil for grasses to grow.

Quick to establish, hardy grasses are often among the first species to reinhabit any disturbed land. In much the same way, early resistance organizations are generalists, not specialists. They are robust and rapidly spread and reproduce, either spreading their seeds aboveground or creating underground networks of rhizomes.

The grasses at the quarry built the soil quickly, and soon there was soil for wildflowers and more complex organisms. In much the same way, large numbers of simple resistance organizations help to establish communities of resistance, cultures of resistance, that can give rise to more complex and more effective resistance organizations.

The hypothetical actionists who put this strategy into place are able to intelligently move from one phase to the next: identifying when the correct elements are in place, when resistance networks are sufficiently mobilized and trained, and when external pressures dictate change. In the US Army’s field manual on operations, General Eric Shinseki argues that the rules of strategy “require commanders to master transitions, to be adaptive. Transitions—deployments, the interval between initial operation and sequels, consolidation on the objective, forward passage of lines—sap operational momentum. Mastering transitions is the key to maintaining momentum and winning decisively.”

This is particularly difficult to do when resistance does not have a central command. In this scenario, there is no central means of dispersing operational or tactical orders, or effectively gathering precise information about resistance forces and allies. Shinseki continues: “This places a high premium on readiness—well trained Soldiers; adaptive leaders who understand our doctrine; and versatile, agile, and lethal formations.” People resisting civilization in this scenario are not concerned with “lethality” so much as effectiveness, but the general point stands.

Resistance to civilization is inherently decentralized. That goes double for underground groups which have minimal contact with others. To compensate for the lack of command structure, a general grand strategy in this scenario becomes widely known and accepted. Furthermore, loosely allied groups are ready to take action whenever the strategic situation called for it. These groups are prepared to take advantage of crises like economic collapses.

Under this alternate scenario, underground organizing in small cells has major implications for applying the principles of war. The ideal entity for taking on industrial civilization would have been a large, hierarchal paramilitary network. Such a network could have engaged in the training, discipline, and coordinated action required to implement decisive militant action on a continental scale. However, for practical reasons, a single such network never arises. Similar arrangements in the history of resistance struggle, such as the IRA or various territory-controlling insurgent groups, happened in the absence of the modern surveillance state and in the presence of a well-developed culture of resistance and extensive opposition to the occupier.

Although underground cells can still form out of trusted peers along kinship lines, larger paramilitary networks are more difficult to form in a contemporary anticivilization context. First of all, the proportion of potential recruits in the general population is smaller than in any anticolonial or antioccupation resistance movements in history. So it takes longer and is more difficult to expand existing underground networks. The option used by some resistance groups in Occupied France was to ally and connect existing cells. But this is inherently difficult and dangerous. Any underground group with proper cover would be invisible to another group looking for allies (there are plenty of stories from the end of the war of resisters living across the hall from each other without having realized each other’s affiliation). And in a panopticon, exposing yourself to unproven allies is a risky undertaking.

A more plausible underground arrangement in this scenario is for there to have been a composite of organizations of different sizes, a few larger networks with a number of smaller autonomous cells that aren’t directly connected through command lines. There are indirect connections or communications via cutouts, but those methods are rarely consistent or reliable enough to permit coordinated simultaneous actions on short notice.

Individual cells rarely have the numbers or logistics to engage in multiple simultaneous actions at different locations. That job falls to the paramilitary groups, with cells in multiple locations, who have the command structure and the discipline to properly carry out network disruption. However, autonomous cells maintain readiness to engage in opportunistic action by identifying in advance a selection of appropriate local targets and tactics. Then once a larger simultaneous action happened (causing, say, a blackout), autonomous cells take advantage of the opportunity to undertake their own actions, within a few hours. In this way unrelated cells engage in something close to simultaneous attacks, maximizing their effectiveness. Of course, if decentralized groups frequently stage attacks in the wake of larger “trigger actions,” the corporate media may stop broadcasting news of attacks to avoid triggering more. So, such an approach has its limits, although large-scale effects like national blackouts can’t be suppressed in the news (and in systems disruption, it doesn’t really matter what caused a blackout in the first place, because it’s still an opportunity for further action).

When we look at some struggle or war in history, we have the benefit of hindsight to identify flaws and successes. This is how we judge strategic decisions made in World War II, for example, or any of those who have tried (or not) to intervene in historical holocausts. Perhaps it would be beneficial to imagine some historians in the distant future—assuming humanity survives—looking back on the alternate future just described. Assuming it was generally successful, how might they analyze its strengths and weaknesses?

For these historians, phase IV is controversial, and they know it had been controversial among resisters at the time. Even resisters who agreed with militant actions against industrial infrastructure hesitated when contemplating actions with possible civilian consequences. That comes as no surprise, because members of this resistance were driven by a deep respect and care for all life. The problem is, of course, that members of this group knew that if they failed to stop this culture from killing the planet, there would be far more gruesome civilian consequences.

A related moral conundrum confronted the Allies early in World War II, as discussed by Eric Markusen and David Kopf in their book The Holocaust and Strategic Bombing: Genocide and Total War in the Twentieth Century. Markusen and Kopf write that: “At the beginning of World War II, British bombing policy was rigorously discriminating—even to the point of putting British aircrews at great risk. Only obvious military targets removed from population centers were attacked, and bomber crews were instructed to jettison their bombs over water when weather conditions made target identification questionable. Several factors were cited to explain this policy, including a desire to avoid provoking Germany into retaliating against non-military targets in Britain with its then numerically superior air force.”

Other factors included concerns about public support, moral considerations in avoiding civilian casualties, the practice of the “Phoney War” (a declared war on Germany with little real combat), and a small air force which required time to build up. The parallels between the actions of the British bombers and the actions of leftist militants from the Weather Underground to the ELF are obvious.

The problem with this British policy was that it simply didn’t work. Germany showed no such moral restraint, and British bombing crews were taking greater risks to attack less valuable targets. By February of 1942, bombing policy changed substantially. In fact, Bomber Command began to deliberately target enemy civilians and civilian morale—particularly that of industrial workers—especially by destroying homes around target factories in order to “dehouse” workers. British strategists believed that in doing so they could sap Germany’s will to fight. In fact, some of the attacks on civilians were intended to “punish” the German populace for supporting Hitler, and some strategists believed that, after sufficient punishment, the population would rise up and depose Hitler to save themselves. Of course, this did not work; it almost never does.

So, this was one of the dilemmas faced by resistance members in this alternate future scenario: while the resistance abhorred the notion of actions affecting civilians—even more than the British did in early World War II—it was clear to them that in an industrial nation the “civilians” and the state are so deeply enmeshed that any impact on one will have some impact on the other.

Historians now believe that Allied reluctance to attack early in the war may have cost many millions of civilian lives. By failing to stop Germany early, they made a prolonged and bloody conflict inevitable. General Alfred Jodl, the German Chief of the Operations Staff of the Armed Forces High Command, said as much during his war crimes trial at Nuremburg: “[I]f we did not collapse already in the year 1939 that was due only to the fact that during the Polish campaign, the approximately 110 French and British divisions in the West were held completely inactive against the 23 German divisions.”

Many military strategists have warned against piecemeal or half measures when only total war will do the job. In his book Grand Strategy: Principles and Practices, John M. Collins argues that timid attacks may strengthen the resolve of the enemy, because they constitute a provocation but don’t significantly damage the physical capability or morale of the occupier. “Destroying the enemy’s resolution to resist is far more important than crippling his material capabilities … studies of cause and effect tend to confirm that violence short of total devastation may amplify rather than erode a people’s determination.” Consider, though, that in this 1973 book Collins may underestimate the importance of technological infrastructure and decisive strikes on them. (He advises elsewhere in the book that computers “are of limited utility.”)

Other strategists have prioritized the material destruction over the adversary’s “will to fight.” Robert Anthony Pape discusses the issue in Bombing to Win, in which he analyzes the effectiveness of strategic bombing in various wars. We can wonder in this alternate future scenario if the resisters attended to Pape’s analysis as they weighed the benefits of phase III (selective actions against particular networks and systems) vs. phase IV (attempting to destroy as much of the industrial infrastructure as possible).

Specifically, Pape argues that targeting an entire economy may be more effective than simply going after individual factories or facilities:

Strategic interdiction can undermine attrition strategies, either by attacking weapons plants or by smashing the industrial base as a whole, which in turn reduces military production. Of the two, attacking weapons plants is the less effective. Given the substitution capacities of modern industrial economies, “war” production is highly fungible over a period of months. Production can be maintained in the short term by running down stockpiles and in the medium term by conservation and substitution of alternative materials or processes. In addition to economic adjustment, states can often make doctrinal adjustments.

This analysis is poignant, but it also demonstrates a way in which the goals of this alternate scenario’s strategy differed from the goals of strategic bombing in historical conflicts. In the Allied bombing campaign (and in other wars where strategic bombing was used), the strategic bombing coincided with conventional ground, air, and naval battles. Bombing strategists were most concerned with choking off enemy supplies to the battlefield. Strategic bombing alone was not meant to win the war; it was meant to support conventional forces in battle. In contrast, in this alternate future, a significant decrease in industrial production would itself be a great success.

The hypothetical future historians perhaps ask, “Why not simply go after the worst factories, the worst industries, and leave the rest of the economy alone?” Earlier stages of Decisive Ecological Warfare did involve targeting particular factories or industries. However, the resisters knew that the modern industrial economy was so thoroughly integrated that anything short of general economic distruption was unlikely to have lasting effect.

This, too, is shown by historical attempts to disrupt economies. Pape continues, “Even when production of an important weapon system is seriously undermined, tactical and operational adjustments may allow other weapon systems to substitute for it.… As a result, efforts to remove the critical component in war production generally fail.” For example, Pape explains, the Allies carried out a bombing campaign on German aircraft engine plants. But this was not a decisive factor in the struggle for air superiority. Mostly, the Allies defeated the Luftwaffe because they shot down and killed so many of Germany’s best pilots.

Another example of compensation is the Allied bombing of German ball bearing plants. The Allies were able to reduce the German production of ball bearings by about 70 percent. But this did not force a corresponding decrease in German tank forces. The Germans were able to compensate in part by designing equipment that required fewer bearings. They also increased their production of infantry antitank weapons. Early in the war, Germany was able to compensate for the destruction of factories in part because many factories were running only one shift. They were not using their existing industrial capacity to its fullest. By switching to double or triple shifts, they were able to (temporarily) maintain production.

Hence, Pape argues that war economies have no particular point of collapse when faced with increasing attacks, but can adjust incrementally to decreasing supplies. “Modern war economies are not brittle. Although individual plants can be destroyed, the opponent can reduce the effects by dispersing production of important items and stockpiling key raw materials and machinery. Attackers never anticipate all the adjustments and work-arounds defenders can devise, partly because they often rely on analysis of peacetime economies and partly because intelligence of the detailed structure of the target economy is always incomplete.” This is a valid caution against overconfidence, but the resisters in this scenario recognized that his argument was not fully applicable to their situation, in part for the reasons we discussed earlier, and in part because of reasons that follow.

Military strategists studying economic and industrial disruption are usually concerned specifically with the production of war materiel and its distribution to enemy armed forces. Modern war economies are economies of total warin which all parts of society are mobilized and engaged in supporting war. So, of course, military leaders can compensate for significant disruption; they can divert materiel or rations from civilian use or enlist civilians and civilian infrastructure for military purposes as they please. This does not mean that overall production is unaffected (far from it), simply that military production does not decline as much as one might expect under a given onslaught.

Resisters in this scenario had a different perspective on compensation measures than military strategists. To understand the contrast, pretend that a military strategist and a militant ecological strategist both want to blow up a fuel pipeline that services a major industrial area. Let’s say the pipeline is destroyed and the fuel supply to industry is drastically cut. Let’s say that the industrial area undertakes a variety of typical measures to compensate—conservation, recycling, efficiency measures, and so on. Let’s say they are able to keep on producing insulation or refrigerators or clothing or whatever it is they make, in diminished numbers and using less fuel. They also extend the lifespan of their existing refrigerators or clothing by repairing them. From the point of view of the military strategist, this attack has been a failure—it has a negligible effect on materiel availability for the military. But from the perspective of the militant ecologist, this is a victory. Ecological damage is reduced, and with very few negative effects on civilians. (Indeed, some effects would be directly beneficial.)

And modern economies in general are brittle. Military economies mobilize resources and production by any means necessary, whether that means printing money or commandeering factories. They are economies of crude necessity. Industrial economies, in contrast, are economies of luxury. They mostly produce things that people don’t need. Industrial capitalism thrives on manufacturing desire as much as on manufacturing products, on selling people disposable plastic garbage, extra cars, and junk food. When capitalist economies hit hard times, as they did in the Great Depression, or as they did in Argentina a decade ago, or as they have in many places in many times, people fall back on necessities, and often on barter systems and webs of mutual aid. They fall back on community and household economies, economies of necessity that are far more resilient than industrial capitalism, and even more robust than war economies.

Nonetheless, Pape makes an important point when he argues, “Strategic interdiction is most effective when attacks are against the economy as a whole. The most effective plan is to destroy the transportation network that brings raw materials and primary goods to manufacturing centers and often redistributes subcomponents among various industries. Attacking national electric power grids is not effective because industrial facilities commonly have their own backup power generation. Attacking national oil refineries to reduce backup power generators typically ignores the ability of states to reduce consumption through conservation and rationing.” Pape’s analysis is insightful, but again it’s important to understand the differences between his premises and goals, and the premises and goals of Decisive Ecological Warfare.

The resisters in the DEW scenario had the goals of reducing consumption and reducing industrial activity, so it didn’t matter to them that some industrial facilities had backup generators or that states engaged in conservation and rationing. They believed it was a profound ecological victory to cause factories to run on reduced power or for nationwide oil conservation to have taken place. They remembered that in the whole of its history, the mainstream environmental movement was never even able to stop the growth of fossil fuel consumption. To actually reduce it was unprecedented.

No matter whether we are talking about some completely hypothetical future situation or the real world right now, the progress of peak oil will also have an effect on the relative importance of different transportation networks. In some areas, the importance of shipping imports will increase because of factors like the local exhaustion of oil. In others, declining international trade and reduced economic activity will make shipping less important. Highway systems may have reduced usage because of increasing fuel costs and decreasing trade. This reduced traffic will leave more spare capacity and make highways less vulnerable to disruption. Rail traffic—a very energy-efficient form of transport—is likely to increase in importance. Furthermore, in many areas, railroads have been removed over a period of several decades, so that remaining lines are even now very crowded and close to maximum capacity.

Back to the alternative future scenario: In most cases, transportation networks were not the best targets. Road transportation (by far the most important form in most countries) is highly redundant. Even rural parts of well-populated areas are crisscrossed by grids of county roads, which are slower than highways, but allow for detours.

 

In contrast, targeting energy networks was a higher priority to them because the effect of disrupting them was greater. Many electrical grids were already operating near capacity, and were expensive to expand. They became more important as highly portable forms of energy like fossil fuels were partially replaced by less portable forms of energy, specifically electricity generated from coal-burning and nuclear plants, and to a lesser extent by wind and solar energy. This meant that electrical grids carried as much or more energy as they do now, and certainly a larger percentage of all energy consumed. Furthermore, they recognized that energy networks often depend on a few major continent-spanning trunks, which were very vulnerable to disruption.

 

 

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Why Decisive Dismantling and Warfare?

 

[Link] Editor’s note: The following is from the chapter “Decisive Ecological Warfare” of the book Deep Green Resistance: A Strategy to Save the  Planet. This book is now available for free online.

 

by Aric McBay

 

There is one final argument that resisters in this scenario made for actions against the economy as a whole, rather than engaging in piecemeal or tentative actions: the element of surprise. They recognized that sporadic sabotage would sacrifice the element of surprise and allow their enemy to regroup and develop ways of coping with future actions. They recognized that sometimes those methods of coping would be desirable for the resistance (for example, a shift toward less intensive local supplies of energy) and sometimes they would be undesirable (for example, deployment of rapid repair teams, aerial monitoring by remotely piloted drones, martial law, etc.). Resisters recognized that they could compensate for exposing some of their tactics by carrying out a series of decisive surprise operations within a larger progressive struggle.

On the other hand, in this scenario resisters understand that DEW depended on relatively simple “appropriate technology” tactics (both aboveground and underground). It depended on small groups and was relatively simple rather than complex. There was not a lot of secret tactical information to give away. In fact, escalating actions with straightforward tactics were beneficial to their resistance movement. Analyst John Robb has discussed this point while studying insurgencies in countries like Iraq. Most insurgent tactics are not very complex, but resistance groups can continually learn from the examples, successes, and failures of other groups in the “bazaar” of insurgency. Decentralized cells are able to see the successes of cells they have no direct communication with, and because the tactics are relatively simple, they can quickly mimic successful tactics and adapt them to their own resources and circumstances. In this way, successful tactics rapidly proliferate to new groups even with minimal underground communication.

Hypothetical historians looking back might note another potential shortcoming of DEW: that it required perhaps too many people involved in risky tactics, and that resistance organizations lacked the numbers and logistical persistence required for prolonged struggle. That was a valid concern, and was dealt with proactively by developing effective support networks early on. Of course, other suggested strategies—such as a mass movement of any kind—required far more people and far larger support networks engaging in resistance. Many underground networks operated on a small budget, and although they required more specialized equipment, they generally required far fewer resources than mass movements.

 

Continuing this scenario a bit further, historians asked: how well did Decisive Ecological Warfare rate on the checklist of strategic criteria we provided at the end of the Introduction to Strategy.

Objective: This strategy had a clear, well-defined, and attainable objective.

Feasibility: This strategy had a clear A to B path from the then-current context to the desired objective, as well as contingencies to deal with setbacks and upsets. Many believed it was a more coherent and feasible strategy than any other they’d seen proposed to deal with these problems.

Resource Limitations: How many people are required for a serious and successful resistance movement? Can we get a ballpark number from historical resistance movements and insurgencies of all kinds?

  • The French Resistance. Success indeterminate. As we noted in the “The Psychology of Resistance” chapter: The French Resistance at most comprised perhaps 1 percent of the adult population, or about 200,000 people. The postwar French government officially recognized 220,000 people (though one historian estimates that the number of active resisters could have been as many as 400,000). In addition to active resisters, there were perhaps another 300,000 with substantial involvement. If you include all of those people who were willing to take the risk of reading the underground newspapers, the pool of sympathizers grows to about 10 percent of the adult population, or two million people. The total population of France in 1940 was about forty-two million, so recognized resisters made up one out of every 200 people.
  • The Irish Republican Army. Successful. At the peak of Irish resistance to British rule, the Irish War of Independence (which built on 700 years of resistance culture), the IRA had about 100,000 members (or just over 2 percent of the population of 4.5 million), about 15,000 of whom participated in the guerrilla war, and 3,000 of whom were fighters at any one time. Some of the most critical and decisive militants were in the “Twelve Disciples,” a tiny number of people who swung the course of the war. The population of occupying England at the time was about twenty-five million, with another 7.5 million in Scotland and Wales. So the IRA membership comprised one out of every forty Irish people, and one out of every 365 people in the UK. Collins’s Twelve Disciples were one out of 300,000 in the Irish population.
  • The antioccupation Iraqi insurgency. Indeterminate success. How many insurgents are operating in Iraq? Estimates vary widely and are often politically motivated, either to make the occupation seem successful or to justify further military crackdowns, and so on. US military estimates circa 2006 claim 8,000–20,000 people. Iraqi intelligence estimates are higher. The total population is thirty-one million, with a land area about 438,000 square kilometers. If there are 20,000 insurgents, then that is one insurgent for every 1,550 people.
  • The African National Congress. Successful. How many ANC members were there? Circa 1979, the “formal political underground” consisted of 300 to 500 individuals, mostly in larger urban centers. The South African population was about twenty-eight million at the time, but census data for the period is notoriously unreliable due to noncooperation. That means the number of formal underground ANC members in 1979 was one out of every 56,000.
  • The Weather Underground. Unsuccessful. Several hundred initially, gradually dwindling over time. In 1970 the US population was 179 million, so they were literally one in a million.
  • The Black Panthers. Indeterminate success. Peak membership was in late 1960s with over 2,000 members in multiple cities. That’s about one in 100,000.
  • North Vietnamese Communist alliance during Second Indochina War. Successful. Strength of about half a million in 1968, versus 1.2 million anti-Communist soldiers. One figure puts the size of the Vietcong army in 1964 at 1 million. It’s difficult to get a clear figure for total of combatants and noncombatants because of the widespread logistical support in many areas. Population in late 1960s was around forty million (both North and South), so in 1968, about one of every eighty Vietnamese people was fighting for the Communists.
  • Spanish Revolutionaries in the Spanish Civil War. Both successful and unsuccessful. The National Confederation of Labor (CNT) in Spain had a membership of about three million at its height. A major driving force within the CNT was the anarchist FAI, a loose alliance of militant affinity groups. The Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI) had a membership of perhaps 5,000 to 30,000 just prior to revolution, a number which increased significantly with the onset of war. The CNT and FAI were successful in bringing about a revolution in part of Spain, but were later defeated on a national scale by the Fascists. The Spanish population was about 26 million. So about one in nine Spaniards were CNT members, and (assuming the higher figure) about one in 870 Spaniards was FAI members.
  • Poll tax resistance against Margaret Thatcher circa 1990. Successful. About fourteen million people were mobilized. In a population of about fifty-seven million, that’s about one in four (although most of those people participated mostly by refusing to pay a new tax).
  • British suffragists. Successful. It’s hard to find absolute numbers for all suffragists. However, there were about 600 nonmilitant women’s suffrage societies. There were also militants, of whom over a thousand went to jail. The militants made all suffrage groups—even the nonmilitant ones—swell in numbers. Based on the British population at the time, the militants were perhaps one in 15,000 women, and there was a nonmilitant suffrage society for every 25,000 women.
  • Sobibór uprising. Successful. Less than a dozen core organizers and conspirators. Majority of people broke out of the camp and the camp was shut down. Up to that point perhaps a quarter of a million people had been killed at the camp. The core organizers made up perhaps one in sixty of the Jewish occupants of the camp at the time, and perhaps one in 25,000 of those who had passed through the camp on the way to their deaths.

It’s clear that a small group of intelligent, dedicated, and daring people can be extremely effective, even if they only number one in 1,000, or one in 10,000, or even one in 100,000. But they are effective in large part through an ability to mobilize larger forces, whether those forces are social movements (perhaps through noncooperation campaigns like the poll tax) or industrial bottlenecks.

Furthermore, it’s clear that if that core group can be maintained, it’s possible for it to eventually enlarge itself and become victorious.

All that said, future historians discussing this scenario will comment that DEW was designed to make maximum use of small numbers, rather than assuming that large numbers of people would materialize for timely action. If more people had been available, the strategy would have become even more effective. Furthermore, they might comment that this strategy attempted to mobilize people from a wide variety of backgrounds in ways that were feasible for them; it didn’t rely solely on militancy (which would have excluded large numbers of people) or on symbolic approaches (which would have provoked cynicism through failure).

Tactics: The tactics required for DEW were relatively simple and accessible, and many of them were low risk. They were appropriate to the scale and seriousness of the objective and the problem. Before the beginnings of DEW, the required tactics were not being implemented because of a lack of overall strategy and of organizational development both above- and underground. However, that strategy and organization were not technically difficult to develop—the main obstacles were ideological.

Risk: In evaluating risk, members of the resistance and future historians considered both the risks of acting and the risks of not acting: the risks of implementing a given strategy and the risks of not implementing it. In their case, the failure to carry out an effective strategy would have resulted in a destroyed planet and the loss of centuries of social justice efforts. The failure to carry out an effective strategy (or a failure to act at all) would have killed billions of humans and countless nonhumans. There were substantial risks for taking decisive action, risks that caused most people to stick to safer symbolic forms of action. But the risks of inaction were far greater and more permanent.

Timeliness: Properly implemented, Decisive Ecological Warfare was able to accomplish its objective within a suitable time frame, and in a reasonable sequence. Under DEW, decisive action was scaled up as rapidly as it could be based on the underlying support infrastructure. The exact point of no return for catastrophic climate change was unclear, but if there are historians or anyone else alive in the future, DEW and other measures were able to head off that level of climate change. Most other proposed measures in the beginning weren’t even trying to do so.

Simplicity and Consistency: Although a fair amount of context and knowledge was required to carry out this strategy, at its core it was very simple and consistent. It was robust enough to deal with unexpected events, and it could be explained in a simple and clear manner without jargon. The strategy was adaptable enough to be employed in many different local contexts.

Consequences: Action and inaction both have serious consequences. A serious collapse—which could involve large-scale human suffering—was frightening to many. Resisters in this alternate future believed first and foremost that a terrible outcome was not inevitable, and that they could make real changes to the way the future unfolded.

 

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Green Technology and Renewable Energy FAQ

 

[Link] Q: Will green technology save the planet?

 

A: No. Wind turbines, solar PV panels, and the grid itself are all manufactured using cheap energy from fossil fuels. When fossil fuel costs begin to rise such highly manufactured items will simply cease to be feasible.

 

Solar panels and wind turbines aren’t made out of nothing.  They are made out of metals, plastics, and chemicals. These products have been mined out of the ground, transported, processed, manufactured.  Each stage leaves behind a trail of devastation: habitat destruction, water contamination, colonization, toxic waste, slave labor, greenhouse gas emissions, wars, and corporate profits.

 

The basic ingredients for renewables are the same materials that are ubiquitous in industrial products, like cement and aluminum. No one is going to make cement in any quantity without using the energy of fossil fuels. And aluminum? The mining itself is a destructive and toxic nightmare from which riparian communities will not awaken in anything but geologic time.

 

From beginning to end, so called “renewable energy” and other “green technologies” lead to the destruction of the planet. These technologies are rooted in the same industrial extraction and production processes that have rampaged across the world for the last 150 years.

 

We are not concerned with slightly reducing the harm caused by industrial civilization; we are interested in stopping that harm completely. Doing so will require dismantling the global industrial economy, which will render impossible the creation of these technologies.

 

Q: Aren’t renewable energies like solar, wind, and geothermal good for the environment?

 

A: No. The majority of electricity that is generated by renewables is used in manufacturing, mining, and other industries that are destroying the planet. Even if the generation of electricity were harmless, the consumption certainly isn’t. Every electrical device, in the process of production, leaves behind the same trail of devastation. Living communities — forests, rivers, oceans — become dead commodities.

 

The emissions reductions that renewables intend to achieve could be easily accomplished by improving the efficiency of existing coal plants, businesses, and homes, at a much lower cost. Within the context of industrial civilization, this approach makes more sense both economically and environmentally.

 

That this approach is not being taken shows that the whole renewables industry is nothing but profiteering. It benefits no one other than the investors.

 

Q: Does “renewable” mean that they last forever?

 

A: No. Solar panels and wind turbines last around 20–30 years, then need to be replaced. The production process of extracting, polluting, and exploiting is not something that happens once, but is continuous – and is expanding very rapidly. Renewables can never replace fossil fuel infrastructure, as they are entirely dependent on it.

 

Q: Will renewable energy save the economy?

 

A: Renewable energy technologies rely heavily on government subsidies, taken from taxpayers and given directly to large corporations like General Electric, BP, Samsung, and Mitsubishi.  While the scheme pads their bottom lines, it doesn’t help the rest of us.

 

Further, this is the wrong question to ask.  The industrial capitalist economy is dispossessing and impoverishing billions of humans and killing the living world.  Renewable energy depends on centralized capital and power imbalance.  We don’t benefit from saving that system.

 

Instead of advocating for more industrial technology, we need to move to local economies based on community decision-making and what our local landbases can provide sustainably.  And we need to stop the global economy on which renewable energy depends.

 

Q: Ok, metal extraction is harmful. What about recycling the materials?

 

A: Recycling may be “more efficient” than virgin extraction, but it is not a solution to environmental problems. In fact, it contributes to them.

 

Recycling the aluminum, steel, silicon, copper, rare earth metals, and other substances used in “green technologies” can only be done at great cost to the planet. Recycling these substances is extremely energy intensive, releases large amounts of greenhouse gases, and contributes to groundwater pollution and toxification of the planet.

 

Recycling metals requires global trade, as the recycling mostly takes place in impoverished countries with lax environmental and health regulations. It is extremely dangerous for the workers. Many parts of renewable technologies cannot be recycled.

 

Q: Ok, renewable technologies have some impacts, but they’re still better than fossil fuels, right?

 

A: Renewable energy technologies are better than fossil fuels in the same sense that a single bullet wound is “better” than two bullet wounds. Both are grievous injuries.

 

Do you want to shoot the planet once or twice?

 

The only way out of a double bind is to smash it: to refuse both choices and craft a completely different path. We support neither fossil fuels or renewable tech.

 

Even this bullet analogy isn’t completely accurate, since renewable technologies, in some cases, have a worse environmental impact than fossil fuels.

 

More renewables doesn’t mean less fossil fuel power, or less carbon emissions. The amount of energy generated by renewables has been increasing, but so has the amount generated by fossil fuels. No coal or gas plants have been taken offline as a result of renewables.

 

Only about 25% of global energy use is in the form of electricity that flows through wires or batteries.  The rest is oil, gas, and other fossil fuel derivatives. Even if all the world’s electricity could be produced without carbon emissions, it would only reduce total emissions by about 25%. And even that would have little meaning, as the amount of energy being used is increasing rapidly.

 

It’s debatable whether some “renewables” even produce net energy.  The amount of energy used in the mining, manufacturing, research and development, transport, installation, maintenance, grid connection, and disposal of wind turbines and solar panels may be more than they ever produce; claims to the contrary often do not take all the energy inputs into account.  Renewables have been described as a laundering scheme: dirty energy goes in, clean energy comes out.

 

Biofuels, another example of “green tech”, have been shown to be a net energy loss in almost every case. Those biofuels that do produce net energy produce an exceedingly small amount. These fuels are often created by clearing natural ecosystems such as tropical rain forests or prairies for agricultural production, a process which releases even more greenhouse gases, reduces biodiversity, and reduces local food availability. Biofuel production is considered a major factor in rising food prices around the world in recent years. These rising food prices have led to widespread starvation, unrest, and violence.

 

Some people like to promote hydroelectric energy as a source of “green power”. This is false. Dams have enormous environmental impacts on rivers, beaches, and estuaries. Beyond these impacts, many dams are a large source of methane gas due to decomposing organic matter at the bottom of the reservoir. Methane from hydroelectric dams may be responsible for 4% or more of global warming.

 

Q: What are the fundamental differences between fossil fuels and green technologies?

 

A: See: https://deepgreenresistance.org/en/who-we-are/faqs/green-technology-renewable-energy#vs-fossil-fuels

 

Q: What about solar power?

 

A:  Solar panel production is now among the leading sources of hexafluoroethane, nitrogen triflouride, and sulfur hexaflouride, three extremely potent greenhouse gases which are used for cleaning plasma production equipment. As a greenhouse gas, hexaflouroethane is 12,000 times more potent than CO2, is 100% manufactured by humans, and survives 10,000 years once released into the atmosphere. Nitrogen Triflouride is 17,000 times more virulent than CO2, and Sulfur Hexaflouride is 25,000 times more powerful than CO2. Concentrations of nitrogen triflouride in the atmosphere are rising 11% per year.

 

From a report by the Silicon Valley Toxics coalition:

 

“As the solar industry expands, little attention is being paid to the potential environmental and health costs of that rapid expansion. The most widely used solar PV panels have the potential to create a huge new source of electronic waste at the end of their useful lives, which is estimated to be 20 to 25 years. New solar PV technologies are increasing efficiency and lowering costs, but many of these use extremely toxic materials or materials with unknown health and environmental risks (including new nano materials and processes).”

 

Q: What about wind power?

 

A: One of the most common wind turbines in the world is a 1.5 megawatt design produced by General Electric. The nacelle weighs 56 tons, the tower 71 tons, and the blades 36 tons. A single turbine such turbine requires over 100 tons of steel.

 

This model is a smaller design by modern standards. The latest industrial turbines stand over 600 feet tall and require about eight times as much steel, copper, and aluminum.

 

This material comes from somewhere, and that somewhere is always someone’s home, someone’s sacred site, someone’s source of food and water and air. We just don’t hear about them, because if they are humans, they are usually poor and brown. This is where racism, colonialism, environmentalism, and extractive economics come together.

 

The largest producer of wind turbines in the world is Vestas, a $15 billion corporation. The largest U.S. producer of turbines is General Electric, which has assets of more than $700 billion and is the fourth-largest producer of air pollution.Can anyone really think – after Fukushima, Hanford, Bhopal – that these massive corporations are concerned about justice or sustainability? Profit is their bottom line, and life will always remain secondary to that.

 

Q: What about hybrid and electric vehicles?

 

A: The production of electric cars requires energy from fossil fuels for most aspects of their production and distribution. This requirement is perhaps even more extreme with electric cars as there is a need to manufacture them to be as lightweight as possible, due to the weight of the battery packs. Many lightweight materials utilized are extremely energy intensive to produce, such as aluminum and carbon composites. This is why you will probably never see an electric truck – they are just too heavy. And of course, trucks are required for extraction, and fossil fuels drive all trucks. Electric/hybrid cars are also charged by energy that, for the most part, comes from power plants using natural gas, coal or nuclear fuels.

 

A recent study by the National Academies, which analyzed the effects of vehicle construction, fuel extraction, refining, emissions, and other factors, has shown that the lifetime health and environmental impacts of electric vehicles are actually greater than those of gasoline-powered cars.

 

Q: Should we focus on dense urbanization and public transit?

 

A:  In some cases, dense urban development is preferable to suburban sprawl. It can reduce the impact on local wild places significantly. However, the focus on dense urban communities and public transit that is found in the modern environmental movement is problematic in several ways.

 

The main problem with this approach is that it takes for granted the existence of cities. Cities are unsustainable, because they require the routine importation of resources — food, timber, minerals, and fuels — from the surrounding land, and give nothing back. The land that the city is on cannot supply the citizens with enough food, shelter, fuel and other material goods.

 

This is in contrast to villages, camps, and other small settlements, which throughout history have served as a sustainable model for human communities.

 

Cities are always drawing resources from their surrounding region, and in the modern world, from the entire globe. Densely populated cities may reduce the impact of so-called “development” on their immediate area, but they do not address the fundamental impacts of cities, or of the modern globalized city.

 

For example, while some neighborhoods in New York City are extremely dense and use relatively low amounts of energy, this is a limited point of view. Rainforests are falling and mountains are being mined away to supply these dense cities with resources. Any serious attempt at environmentalism must take into account the impact of producing and transporting materials into the city, and must address the fundamental issues of resource extraction and the expansion of global industrial civilization.

 

At best, dense urban growth and public transportation are mildly effective “harm reduction” strategies. At worst, these approaches to environmentalism provide a green veneer to corporatized, profit-driven, and extraction-dependent cities. They obscure the problem, and thus contribute to it.

 

To learn more about cities, how they function, and why they are unsustainable as a form of social organization, read our definition of civilization and the resources at the end of this page.

 

Q: But we need electricity, don’t we?

 

A: Humans, like other animals, get our energy mainly by eating other plants and animals. Plants gather energy from the sun. No species needs electricity for survival. Only the industrial system needs electricity to survive.

 

Right now, food and habitat for living beings are being sacrificed to feed electricity.  The infrastructure, mines, processing, and waste dumping required for electrical generation is destroying forests and other natural places around the world. Ensuring energy security for industry requires undermining life security for living beings (that’s us).

 

Q: What is your alternative?

 

A: Electricity has only been in common use since the 1920s (or later in large parts of the world). Many people in the majority world have no electricity at home, even now. There are plenty of ways of meeting our needs that are not dependent on electricity.

 

Generation of electricity is unsustainable, if by “sustainable” we mean something that we can keep doing forever without causing any lasting or major harm to the planet. Small-scale, localized electrical generation systems using the scraps of civilization may continue for some time after collapse of centralized power grids, but global industrial production of “green” products will kill the planet just as surely as the status quo.

 

We are skeptical even of using industrial “green” technology to facilitate a transition to a completely non-industrial way of life. Dependence on industrial technology can easily become a cult of progress, and can lead people away from traditional, sustainable ways of living.

 

The only truly “green” sources of power come from the earth and don’t require destruction. By that, we are talking about photosynthesis and muscle power. Permaculture, as well as other traditional subsistence methods such as hunting, animal husbandry, fishing, and gathering, must be the foundations of any future sustainable culture; otherwise any claims to being “green” will be falsehoods. Perennial polycultures, both cultivated and wild, can also supply the other basics necessities of life: clean water, clean air, material for clothing and shelter, and spiritual nourishment.

 

Deep Green Resistance stands in opposition to industrial technologies that are labeled as “green” or “renewable”. Instead, we stand in solidarity with the natural world and communities that are impacted by industrial extraction all around the world.

 

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Contact Deep Green Resistance News Service

 

[Link] To repost DGR original writings or talk with us about anything else, you can contact the Deep Green Resistance News Service by email, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

 

Email: newsservice@deepgreenresistance.org

 

Twitter: @dgrnews

 

Facebook.com/dgrnews

 

Please contact us with news, articles, or pieces that you have written. If we decide to post your submission, it may be posted here, or on the Deep Green Resistance Blog.

 

 

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Further news and recommended reading / podcasts

 

Derrick Jensen Resistance Radio w/ Posie Parker – January 13, 2019

 

Derrick Jensen Resistance Radio w/ Jared Lloyd – January 20, 2019

 

Derrick Jensen Resistance Radio w/ David Holmgren – January 27, 2019

 

Derrick Jensen Resistance Radio w/ Sam Mace – February 3, 2019

 

This is your brain on Post-Modernism

 

Colonial frontlines in the city: urban Indigenous organizing

 

How to Think About Empire — an Interview with Arundhati Roy

 

Filming in the Most Depressing City on Earth – Jakarta

 

Desalination and the SNWA Water Grab

 

The Erasure of Reality

 

Nearly 80% of Oregon in Severe Drought

 

DGR Eugene hosts Robert Jensen

 

 

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How to support DGR or get involved

 

Guide to taking action

 

Bring DGR to your community to provide training

 

Become a member

 

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“The project of corporate globalization has cracked the code of democracy. Free elections, a free press and an independent judiciary mean little when the free market has reduced them to commodities on sale to the highest bidder.”

 

– Arundhati Roy, An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire

 

 

 

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to those who will find it valuable. Permission is also granted to reprint this newsletter, but it must be reprinted in whole.

 

Resistance News for January 10, 2019

by Max Wilbert

Deep Green Resistance

max@maxwilbert.org

https://www.deepgreenresistance.org

Current atmospheric CO2 level (daily high at Mauna Loa): 410.73 PPM

A free monthly newsletter providing analysis and commentary on ecology, global capitalism, empire, and revolution.

For back issues, to read this issue online, or to subscribe via email or RSS, visit the Resistance News web page.

These essays also appear on the DGR News Service, which also includes an active comment section.

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In this issue:

  1. Unist’oten Camp Facing Armed Invasion By Pipeline Cops
  2. Towards a Revolutionary Ecology » An Interview with Max Wilbert
  3. Impersonators Using Printer Vulnerabilities to Spam Small Businesses
  4. Support Political Prisoners This Season
  5. Prostituted Women Crucial to Economic Growth
  6. Book Review: Make Rojava Green Again, by The Internationalist Commune of Rojava
  7. Depressed and Then Diagnosed With Autism, Greta Thunberg Explains Why Hope Cannot Save Planet But Bold Climate Action Still Can
  8. How Circular is the Circular Economy?
  9. Canadian Court Gives Coastal Gaslink Permission to Violate Indigenous Rights
  10. Courage
  11. Book Excerpt: The Four Phases of Decisive Ecological Warfare
  12. Groomed to Consume
  13. Political Education for the Poor – An Advocacy for a New Political Awareness
  14. Submit your material to the Deep Green Resistance News Service
  15. Further news and recommended reading / podcasts
  16. How to support DGR or get involved

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“The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim; he or she has become a threat.”

– James Baldwin

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Unist’oten Camp Facing Armed Invasion By Pipeline Cops

[Link] On Monday, January 7th, Canadian federal police raided the Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidumt’en Territory on unceded indigenous land in what is commonly known as British Columbia, Canada.

The Access Point is the forward position of a pipeline occupation held primarily by the Unist’ot’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation. The Unist’ot’en have been occupying this part of their territory for nine years to block numerous oil and gas pipelines from destroying their territory.

On Wednesday afternoon, the RCMP lifted the roadblock and exclusion zone that had been in place since Monday morning. Several RCMP negotiators, as well as hereditary chiefs, passed through the barrier on the bridge over the Wedzin Kwah and are currently engaged in negotiations inside the healing center.

The latest reports confirm that the Unist’ot’en will comply with the injunction and allow some Coastal Gaslink employees onto the territory. It remains to be seen what form the struggle will take.

@UnistotenCamp, January 10th, 12:06am: Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs will open gate and comply with injunction. They do not want violence that happened in Gitdimt’en to repeat here. Many tears shed. Police negotiating with Clan to possibly allow gate to stay up. This is not over. #wetsuwetenstrong #unistoten

Fourteen land defenders were arrested on Monday including spokesperson Molly Wickham. She describes what happened in this video. All of the arrestees have been released as of 3pm Wednesday. You can donate to the legal support fund here.

The RCMP attack is also described in this StarMetro Vancouver article:

“After a lengthy, increasingly heated back-and-forth between the demonstrators and police, officers began cutting the barbed wire and started up a chainsaw. Camp members began to scream in protest; two young men had chained themselves to the fence below the view of the officers, encasing their arms in a kind of pipe that meant opening the gate risked breaking both of their arms… [the] checkpoint camp was abandoned behind a massive fallen tree and a barrier of flame on Monday afternoon as dozens of RCMP officers finally pushed past the barricade set up to bar entry to the traditional territories of the Wet’suwet’en people.” 

The Gidumt’en and Unist’ot’en are two of five clans that make up the Wet’suwet’en Nation. The traditional leadership of all five clans oppose the pipeline. However, the elected band council (a colonial leadership structure set up by the Canadian state) voted in favor of the pipeline.

More than 60 solidarity events took place across Canada and the world this week. Using the hashtag #ShutdownCanada, blockades have stopped major intersections, financial districts, bridges, and ports in Vancouver, Ottowa, Toronto, Victoria, Montreal, and elsewhere.

This situation has a long background and highly significant legal significance. Kai Nagata describes the situation:

Many Canadians have heard of the 1997 Delgamuukw decision by the Supreme Court of Canada, which recognized that Aboriginal title still exists in places where Indigenous nations have never signed a treaty with the Crown. In fact, the court was talking about the land where tonight’s raid is taking place. 

Delgamuukw is a chief’s name in the neighbouring Gitxsan Nation, passed down through the generations. Delgamuukw was one of dozens of plaintiffs in the case, comprising hereditary chiefs from both the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en Nations.

Together those leaders achieved an extraordinary milestone in forcing the Canadian courts to affirm the legitimacy of their oral histories, traditional laws and continuing governance of their lands. But it wasn’t until the Tsilhqot’in decision in 2014 that the Supreme Court went a step further, recognizing Aboriginal title over a specific piece of land.

If the Wet’suwet’en chiefs went back to court all these years later, many legal scholars say the strength of their claim to their territories would eventually force the Canadian government to relinquish thousands of square kilometres within the Bulkley and Skeena watersheds – and stop calling it “Crown land”.

That’s why the TransCanada pipeline company acted quickly, to secure an injunction against Wet’suwet’en members blocking construction before the legal ground could shift under their Coastal Gaslink project.

The 670-kilometre pipeline project would link the fracking fields of Northeastern B.C. with a huge liquid gas export terminal proposed for Kitimat. Called LNG Canada, this project is made up of oil and gas companies from China, Japan, Korea and Malaysia, along with Royal Dutch Shell.

The BC Liberal, BC NDP and federal governments all courted the LNG Canada project, offering tax breaks, cheap electricity, tariff exemptions and other incentives to convince the consortium to build in B.C. Both Christy Clark and Premier John Horgan celebrated LNG Canada’s final investment decision last fall, calling it a big win for the province.

However, without a four foot diameter (122cm) pipeline feeding fracked gas to the marine terminal, the LNG Canada project is a non-starter.

That brings us back to the Morice River, or Wedzin Kwa in the Wet’suwet’en language. This is where the rubber hits the road for “reconciliation”. Politicians are fond of using the word, but seemingly uncomfortable with its implications.

Politicians also talk a lot about the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and how to enshrine it in B.C. law. Article 10 of UNDRIP states that “Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories.” It is hard to see how tonight’s arrests are consistent with this basic right.

Pro-pipeline pundits are already working hard to spin this raid as the “rule of law” being asserted over the objections of “protestors”. They point to benefit agreements signed between TransCanada and many band governments along the pipeline route.

But under the Indian Act, elected councillors only have jurisdiction over reserve lands – the tiny parcels set aside for First Nations communities that are administered much like municipalities. That’s not where this pipeline would go.

What is at stake in the larger battle over Indigenous rights and title are the vast territories claimed by the Crown but never paid for, conquered or acquired by treaty. In Wet’suwet’en territory, those lands, lakes and rivers are stewarded by the hereditary chiefs under a governance system that predates the founding of Canada.

Update on Unist’ot’en Camp (Thursday AM)

[Link] Today the Coastal Gaslink company will be negotiating with the Wet’suwet’en traditional leadership. They may potentially allow workers past the barrier at Unist’ot’en Camp to conduct “pre-construction” activities.

However, the compliance with the temporary injunction is not a surrender on the part of the Wet’suwet’en. It was a tactical maneuver to gain advantage in the short term and prevent physical harm to members of the nation. The camp stands and the nation has no intention of allowing the pipeline to be built.

They aim to continue the fight. A legal battle may be brewing that could end up in the Canadian Supreme Court. It is possible physical confrontations will continue in the future as well. The Unist’ot’en have already defeated 6 of the 7 proposed pipelines across their land and do not mean to let this final pipeline be built.

From the Unist’ot’en Camp website:

WAYS TO SUPPORT:

We are are humbled by the outpouring of solidarity and support for our Wet’suwet’en people. We expect RCMP aggression at any time. We are still fundraising for our legal battle in the colonial courts. Please donate.

– DONATE to Unist’ot’en Camp Legal Fund

– DONATE to Gidimt’en Access Point

– COME TO CAMP: Supporters in the local area wanting to do something should head to KM 27 now. Meet at the junction of Morice River Road and Morice West where people are gathering to plan additional responses to this incursion.

– HOST A SOLIDARITY EVENT: See the International Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en event page. We are conducting peaceful actions as sovereign peoples on our territories, and ask that all actions taken in solidarity are conducted peacefully and according to the traditional laws of other Indigenous Nations. Forcible trespass onto Wet’suwet’en territories and the removal of Indigenous peoples from their lands must be stopped. Provincial and federal governments must be confronted.

– SIGN THE PLEDGE: Join thousands of organizations and individuals in signing the pledge in support of Unist’ot’en

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Towards a Revolutionary Ecology » An Interview with Max Wilbert

[Link] An interview with a comrade from the Deep Green Resistance organization, co-author (with Lierre Keith and Derrick Jensen) of the forthcoming book, Bright Green Lies.

Nicolas Casaux: The latest fad, in the public sphere of mainstream ecology in French speaking Quebec, is this “pact for the transition.” To me it stands for much of mainstream ecology. It is a plea for shorter showers (as Derrick Jensen would call it), based on a naïve belief in the possibility for industrial civilization to become “green”, notably through “sustainable development”, and also a naïve belief in that our leaders, and the State, can and will someday save us all. What do you think?

Max Wilbert: It’s bullshit, like all the mainstream solutions.

In the 1960’s, capitalism was threatened by rising people’s movements and revolution was in the air. One of the main ways that capitalism adapted was by creating the non-profit system to absorb and defuse resistance. Environmental groups like the Sierra Club, 350.org, WWF, and The Nature Conservancy (as well as countless others) all operate with multi-million or billion dollar budgets. That funding comes from foundations; in other words, from the rich via their money laundering schemes. They channel movements towards so-called “solutions” which are really distractions. Sure, in some cases their “solutions” may partially address the issues, but they are being promoted because they are profitable.

This is why we see a massive groundswell movement pushing for “100% renewable energy.” Renewables are extremely profitable. But there is little to no evidence that they actually decrease carbon emissions. Look at overall emissions trends over the past decade. As “renewables” rise, so do overall emissions. That’s because you can’t extricate energy production from growth and the capitalist model. More energy is profitable, and feeds into the growth of the economy (along with population growth, new markets opening up, loans, and other means capitalism uses to grow).

These movements aren’t really grassroots. They’ve been created and funded by massive investments—billions of dollars—worth of grants and foundation funding. That propaganda has convinced millions of people around the world that renewable energy and “green technology” will save the day. And there is absolutely zero evidence that is the case, and plenty of evidence to the contrary. So even when a particular group seems grassroots, their ideology has been created and shaped by these massively funded  “Astroturf” organizations.

That’s also why we see such a big focus on personal lifestyle choices. Sure, we should all strive to make moral choices. But “buy or don’t buy” is simply the capitalist model. There is zero threat to the status quo when that is your only weapon. These organizations ask individuals to reduce, but never question empire itself. They never interrogate (let alone threaten) the actual systems of power that are killing the planet. Instead they focus on their silly parochial changes. And I say that as someone who eats as ecologically as possible, drives little, lives in a small cabin in the woods, hunts and forages my own food, etc.

NC: What would you propose to those interested in stopping the current environmental destruction, instead of this pact?

MW: This pact does note that personal changes are insufficient to solve the ecological crisis. That’s good, and it’s a step in the right direction. But they nonetheless put their faith in existing governments and institutions by demanding that they “adopt laws and actions compliant with our climate commitments.” There is no evidence that these institutions will ever live up to the agreements, which are themselves terribly inadequate.

We’re currently on course for more than 4º C of global warming by 2100, and much more after 2100, at the very least. In other words, we’re tracking well beyond the worst case scenarios of the IPCC. Kyoto, Copenhagen, Paris—these have done nothing to slow or reverse these trends. There’s a very real chance this culture could kill more than 90% of all species on this planet, including our own. In fact, we’re well on our way. More than 200 species are driven extinct every day.

Destruction and GHG emissions are built into the structure of modern empire. This society functions by converting the living world into dead commodities. Global warming is merely a symptom of this process. If we want to have a chance in hell of saving the planet, we need to stop focusing on global warming. We need to stop asking governments to save us. We need to stop relying on capitalist, technological solutions. And we need to realize how deadly serious this situation is. We are well along the path towards global fascism, total war, ubiquitous surveillance, normalized patriarchy and racism, a permanent refugee crisis, water and food shortages, and ecological collapse.

We need to build legitimate movements to dismantle global capitalism. All work is useful towards this end. However, I see no way this goal will be achieved without force. The best methods I have come across for achieving this rely on dedicated cadre forming small, highly mobile and trained strike forces. These forces should target key nodes of global industrial infrastructure (shipping, communication, finance, energy, etc.) and destroy them, with the goal of inciting “cascading systems failure.” The interconnected global economy is vulnerable to this type of attack because of how interdependent it is. If the right targets are chosen and effectively attacked, the entire thing could come crashing down.

Obviously this isn’t a magic bullet that will fix every problem. But with ecological collapse now well underway, it is time for desperate measures. This strategy will create the time and space necessary to begin addressing other issues and build sustainable, just societies in the ashes of this corrupt, brutal global empire.

NC: You write that “the agreements” that are presented in this pact “are themselves terribly inadequate”, would you care to elaborate?

Well, this pact is referring specifically to agreements like what came out of Paris.  And the deal that came out of Paris was bullshit. It wasn’t actually sufficient to limit warming to 2º C, let alone 1.5º C. All the worst-case scenarios are playing out. We recently passed the “carbon budget” deadline for 1.5º C laid out by the IPCC. And that’s not even to consider the inherent conservatism of science. I’ve written about this in the past, and it’s a critical topic that’s often missed. A meta-review of climate science in 2010 found that “new scientific findings are… twenty times as likely to indicate that global climate disruption is “worse than previously expected,” rather than “not as bad as previously expected.” It’s likely that things are even worse than we think.

After Paris a group of top climate scientists said that Paris would only create “false hope.” And we’ve seen that play out. But the Paris accord isn’t even being followed. There are no nations that are meeting their commitments. We’ve seen this across the board. This isn’t an isolated case. Each international climate treaty has failed in the same two fundamental ways. First, the goals are inadequate to prevent disaster. Second, the goals haven’t been met.

It’s because these conferences aren’t actually meant to solve the problem. They’re largely a political theater meant to built political support for massive subsidies to corporations building wind turbines, solar panels, electric grids, hydroelectric dams, electric cars, etc. These gatherings a massive international events, akin to WTO conventions, at which NGOs, corporations, and politicians can mingle and make deals.

NC: If I was a mainstream environmentalist, I wouldn’t understand why “wind turbines, solar panels, electric grids, hydroelectric dams, electric cars, etc.” are not a good thing, and I would respond that if the goals are inadequate, then we should ask our leaders, our governments, to set adequate goals. Why are “wind turbines, etc.” not a good thing, and what would adequate goals look like?

MW: To understand this, we have to understand how the global economy works. It runs on energy. The more energy is available, the more growth is enabled. For thousands of years, the total amount of energy consumed by global civilization has increased gradually. It jumped massively when coal, oil, and gas were adopted. But even early civilizations burned more and more wood, and harnessed more and more hydropower for mills and so on.

Solar panels, wind turbines, and other forms of “renewable energy” can be accurately seen as a response to peak oil. All the easily exploited oil, coal, and gas has already been burnt. (Unfortunately for all life, there is still a lot left—it’s just very expensive and dangerous to extract). This means that to expand total energy production, new methods are needed. And that’s why we see “unconventional” oil such as tar sands, oil shale, fracking, arctic drilling, and so on.

It’s also why we see this massive boom in solar and wind. Proponents of these technologies like to trumpet headlines about costs for solar electricity, for example, falling lower than coal in some areas. And because of this, corporations are going all-in. We now see “renewable” energy powering Apple’s data centers, Intel’s factories, Ford production lines, and Wal-Mart stores. Hell, even the US Military is investing heavily in “green energy” for bases and outposts.

People like Bill McKibben and Mark Z. Jacobson look at this as a major success. But the fact is, the boom in solar and wind hasn’t caused emissions to decline. If you look at a few localized areas, you are seeing emissions declines. But most of this comes down to fraudulent accounting, and the key fact that it’s somewhat useless to look at local or even regional emissions in a globalized, interconnected economy. What they hell does it matter if emissions decline in Germany, when they import all their solar panels from China (the #1 polluter now, globally, due to their status as a production center for the rich nations and a rising superpower in their own right) and export millions of brand new cars around the world?

Global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. That’s the key element. We can look at these localized claims of emissions declines as mostly being a form of “carbon laundering,” whereby mostly rich nations are able to claim they’re saving the world while continuing to profit off the backs of the economic colonies. Just like they imported slaves in the past, now they export carbon emissions. It’s all part of the theater and power politics of global empire.

This has been quantified by a sociologist named Richard York, who has shown that bringing online new “green” energy doesn’t actually displace the burning of fossil fuels. In other words, when you add a new wind energy installation, you don’t turn off a coal plant of equivalent size. In practice, the new energy is simply added on top. And that’s where it all comes back to growth. This is a massive growth opportunity for the capitalists. Businesses are practically drooling over the prospect of massive public subsidies for these “sorely needed” renewable energy projects, not to mention electric cars and so on.

So the bottom line is that green energy doesn’t work. Period. Green technology doesn’t work. People can talk about future scenarios all they like, but it’s not working right now.

But people continue to believe in these lies, and that’s because of the propaganda. Look at any mainstream ecology or even liberal news source. They all promote green technology like a religious savior. It’s because they can’t imagine questioning empire itself. The idea of ending this way of life is obscene to them. More accurately, it’s literally unthinkable.

But to look for rationality in all this is silly. My friend Derrick Jensen often says that the dominant culture has “death urge, an urge to destroy all life.” The author Richard Powell explained it in a different way, writing that “the motive behind all of this “deregulation” is not primarily economic. Any reasonable accounting reveals that the sum of these measures carries external costs far greater than the hoped-for benefits. (Did you know that the number-one killer in the world is pollution? And that doesn’t even include premature deaths from climate change.) The push to remove all environmental safety strikes me as mostly psychological. It’s driven by a will to total dominance, underwritten by the hierarchy of values that George Lakoff calls “stern paternalism,” putting men above women, whites above minorities, Americans above all other countries, and humans above all other living things.”

But I would add, just because it’s psychological doesn’t mean it’s not real. The world today is being run by people who believe in money as a god. They’re insane, but they have vast power, and they’re using that power in the real world. That’s the physical manifestation of their violent, corrupt ideology.

NC: So when you write “the idea of ending this way of life is obscene to them”, you mean that they don’t want to give up the modern industrialized way of life? Because in the end that’s the only way out, right? Giving up the modern, industrialized, high-tech way of life, and going back to —or inventing new forms of— small scale and low-tech living? Because, I don’t know about the US, but in France, and in Europe in general, we have this ecosocialist movement, who thinks it’s possible to have both degrowth AND a kind of green industrialism, to develop renewables AND to remove or give up on fossil fuels, to abolish or drastically diminish the use of the individual car and promote public transportation, to choose electrical rail transport instead of trucks, and so on, in short to rationalize the industrial mess, democratically, and to make it green/sustainable. What do you think about that?

MW: I sympathize with the degrowth socialists. I agree with many of them, especially the revolutionary ecosocialists, on a lot of issues. And I enjoy engaging in dialogue with them. I do think that it is physically possible to implement a degrowth model in which the vast majority of consumption is ended. Of course, there is zero political will for that, which is why degrowth must be a revolutionary struggle. Reform and electoral politics will never lead to deliberate degrowth.

But it’s a mistake to think that further development of “renewables” is possible with a degrowth model. Renewables are, without exception, fully dependent on fossil fuels. Take wind turbines, for example. The blades are made of plastics from oil. The steel in wind turbines is made with massive quantities of coke, which is a form of coal. Steel is one of the most toxic industries on the planet, and it’s essential for wind and many of the other “green” technologies. Wind turbines are lubricated with oil. Each turbine requires hundreds of gallons. In fact, Exxon Mobil has a whole wind turbine lubricant division. Turbines are transported into place on fossil fuels-powered trucks, lifted upright by cranes running on diesel, and bolted into foundations made of concrete (a highly energy intensive material) dug by diesel-powered machinery. We could go on and on.

It’s the same with solar. Where does the silicon mining happen? It happens with massive dump trucks which guzzle gallons of diesel per minute. And most solar panels are made in China, so they’re shipped across the ocean on massive vessels. The 100 largest ocean ships pollute more than all the cars in the world.

That’s not even to go into the water issues, pollution, labor exploitation, economic issues. A solar panel production factory is a $100 million facility. In other words, there is no way to make this technology community-scale. You need a globalized economy and massive capital investment to create these “renewables.” And this all runs on oil.

Degrowth socialists should take a more realistic perspective on these issues. The reality is, the planet has limits. The history of industrialism shows those limits. Steel production is not sustainable. Neither is the production of any of the other raw materials that are essential for green technologies. These aren’t simply claims I’m making. This is the physical reality.

A high-tech, ecological, post-capitalist society is a fantasy. We need to recognize what is sustainable, and what isn’t. Factories are not sustainable, whether they are producing hummers or electric buses. Electricity production is not sustainable. I organized an event years ago with Chief Caleen Sisk of the Winnemum Wintu. She grew up with no electricity on Indian land, and she reminded us that “electricity is a convenience. We can live without electricity, but we can’t live without clean water.” I’ve studied the issue and see no way to produce electricity, in the long haul, that doesn’t poison water and destroy the land.

Scientists and techno-priests can talk all they want about green energy and a renewable future, but whenever you analyze the full life-cycle of the technologies, they look like the same old planet-destroying bullshit. So I don’t see technology providing a way out. The best-case scenario I see is that people dismantle capitalism forcefully, via revolution. At the same time, we need to engage in relentless education to teach people the reality of ecological limits and our tasks for the future.

Mass society has some inherent characteristics that make it challenging, if not impossible, to be sustainable or egalitarian. It’s too easy to outsource destruction. Out of sight, out of mind. Look at sweatshop labor, mining, and so on. And it’s too easy for elites to take over the political process. That’s been the history of the last 8,000 years right there. It’s the history of empire.

If we want an egalitarian society, it needs to be in the form of local, autonomous communities. I think the democratic confederalism experiment in northern Syria is an interesting project in this regard. Confederations allow communities to collaborate, trade, work to protect one another from predatory and expansionist groups, and so on. But they preserve the local autonomy and decision-making power that’s essential for sustainability.

We need to replace global society and nation-states with thousands of hyper-localized communities, living with the boundaries of the natural world. These post-capitalist societies aren’t likely to shun electricity and other modern conveniences entirely. We don’t have to throw away every advancement of science and technology from the last 10,000 years. But it’s more likely these societies would jury-rig small-scale electric generation from the scraps of empire than that they’ll have full-fledged solar panel production factories. Long-term, industrial technology is going to disappear.

NC: We have, in France, a growing current, which called itself collapsologie (collapsology). It’s essentially composed of people who have understood that the collapse of industrial civilization is guaranteed, but are mainly concerned by building more resilience (emotional and material), for them and their communities, or elaborating national politics for going through the collapse of industrial civilization, but not fighting against empire, but not fighting for the living. What do you make of that?

MW: It’s a morally bankrupt position. The only way to justify not fighting empire is if you identify with the system. I’ve long been told that we need to decolonize ourselves, and a big part of that is breaking our psychological affiliation with empire and all its components: modern conveniences, culture, food systems, etc. Once we step outside of fear that these systems support our lives, it’s incredibly easy to see that these systems are destroying the planet.

Then, we need to go a step further—and this is the step that most people forget. We need to make our allegiance to the living planet. We need to identify with the greater-than-human world. This can be done at multiple levels. At the basic level, of course, is the physical understanding that we’re dependent on clean water, clean air, clear soil, etc. These are created and maintained by the biotic community, the community of life.

But having only a physical understanding is dangerous, because it can lead to a utilitarianism. We see this reflected in the environmental sciences in ideas like “ecosystem services,” where you try to quantify and put a dollar value on clean water. But the thing is, as soon as you attach a dollar value, that can be used against you, because if the economic value of the industry is greater than the value you’ve found for the water, your argument is moot. By using that capitalist, utilitarian language and argumentation, you’re granting one of their fundamental premises: that the economic factor is the most important.

We need to go to a deeper, spiritual level. Animism is the belief in spirits of the land, a belief that the land itself—mountains, rivers, clouds, storms, and so on—is alive. Some form of this belief system is shared amongst the vast majority of indigenous peoples worldwide. And it’s not a mystery why. I would argue that this is an adaptive trait. To survive in the long term, to live on the land without destroying it, human beings need a narrative that teaches us respect.

I think you can get to a similar mindset in many different ways. For me, it doesn’t really matter if we look at the world as collections of atoms self-organizing into beings, communities, landscapes, with billions of complex chemical reactions supporting the whole, or if we look at it as a world animated by spirits. The sense of awe is immense either way.

We are living in a world of astounding beauty and wonder. I love the world. I love my friends and my human community. I love the oak trees outside my window. I love the meadow beyond them. I love the deer, the wild turkeys, the voles, the spring flowers. I love the seasonal creek that flows nearby. I love the great evergreen forests in the mountains. I love the coastline, and the beings who live there. These aren’t abstract feelings. These are real communities who I have a relationship with.

And they’re being murdered. Within my region you have logging, mining, spraying of pesticides, road building, housing “development,” and worse. This is the economic system of empire, laying waste to this area slowly but surely, just as it does elsewhere. And this is in the US, the heart of empire. It’s much worse elsewhere, on the frontiers and in the economic colonies. And then there are the existential threats of global warming, nuclear annihilation, toxification, and so on.

It’s not that death itself is a problem. I am a hunter, I harvest plants, I take life, but I do so with respect and ensure the community as a whole is healthy. This isn’t comparable to what empire does. Again, civilization is a culture with a death urge, an urge to destroy life. When we see this, and we love the world, not fighting back is unthinkable.

When I hear people who recognize collapse, but who don’t want to fight empire, I feel pity and anger. They must have no love for the living world. But they’re not necessarily a lost cause. Some people can learn to change their beliefs, change their minds, and most importantly to change their actions. But once they are indoctrinated into a certain worldview, most people don’t change.

I agree with these people that we need to build individual and collective resilience. But not simply for the sake of survival, which is ultimately selfish. We need to do it to have a strong foundation for our resistance. We need revolutionary change, not lifeboat survivalism.

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Impersonators Using Printer Vulnerabilities to Spam Small Businesses

[Link] Over the past few days, several organizations from across the United States have reached out to Deep Green Resistance, letting us know about a printer exploit being used to print off DGR-themed flyers at their place of business.

These intrusions seem to be related to a larger wave of forced printings currently affecting unsecured printers (see: https://www.engadget.com/2018/11/30/pewdiepie-printer-hack-thehackergiraffe/).

We want to be very clear that these flyers are not official DGR material and have not been approved by us for publication anywhere, and certainly not on private printers without consent. The use of a Printer Exploitation Toolkit to hijack unprotected printers is unethical, unhelpful for anyone, and illegal.

At the moment, we are unsure who is behind these mailings. If this is the work of an unaffiliated DGR supporter, we ask that you please stop immediately and avoid such invasive, unhelpful behavior in the future. If these mailings are the work of agitators attempting to discredit our movement, we would ask that you please find something better to do with your time and stop wasting paper. Either way, we would like to apologize to anyone who has had to deal with this time-wasting stunt. Although we are unable to prevent every unstable or unscrupulous person from deciding to do stupid and unhelpful things, we are taking every step possible to make sure this doesn’t happen again. In the meantime, we encourage everyone – especially activists – to make sure their internet-connected devices are secure.

Here is the official recommendation on how to secure your printers against this type of attack: “Network administrators should never leave their printers accessible from the Internet and disable raw port 9100/tcp printing if not required” (more here).

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Support Political Prisoners This Season

[Link] Political prisoners, some serving maximum sentences of 25 years to life, are especially vulnerable during the dark days of winter.  Many have been incarcerated so long that family and friends have forgotten them.  Others have family that cannot afford to accept phone calls or visit.  Prisoners are frequently serving sentences far from their homes and phone calls are big business in prisons, charging exorbitantly for calls.  The holiday season is even more difficult for these men and women.

Deep Green Resistance has not forgotten the activists seeking to change this oppressive system.  From the Move 9 group arrested in 1978 for illegal firearms in a confrontation with Philadelphia police (and later bombed by police) to victims of domestic violence who are imprisoned for killing their spouse in self-defense, the U.S. (no) Justice System would like us to forget that there are brave men and women fighting against the oppression of poverty, racism, and misogyny that are imprisoned.

This season, please take a moment to reach out and let a political prisoner know that he/she is not forgotten.  Join us in sending a card to someone who continues to fight for life and help us bring a ray of light to the darkness of prison for an activist.

Remember to contact the prison for regulations on mail and to verify address. Prisoners are often moved to other facilities without warning.

No glue, glitter, or crayons, nothing illegal or immoral, no polaroid pictures.

No food or gifts, although books can be sent if they are mailed from the publisher or store.

Send only cards that are non-denominational or feature nature scenes.

Some suggestions:

Move 9 information

Alvaro Luna Hernandez

#255735

Hughes Unit

Rt 2, Box 4400

Gatesville, TX  76597

May 12, 1952

Alvaro was the national coordinator of the Ricardo Aldape Guerra Defense Committee, which led the struggle to free Mexican national Aldape Guerra from Texas’ death row after he was framed by Houston police. In addition, Alvaro spearheaded the National Movement of La Raza, Stop the Violence Youth Committee and the Prisoners solidarity Committee in Houston. Alvaro was an NGO delegate before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights where he exposed the U.S. government’s dismal human rights record and its human rights violations of U.S. political prisoners. On July 18, 1996, Sheriff Jack McDaniel of Alpine, Texas, attempted to assassinate Alvaro but was thwarted when Alvaro disarmed him. For this he was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Kojo Bomani Sababu (Grailing Brown)

#39384-066

USP Canaan

U.S. Penitentiary

P.O. Box 300

Waymart, PA  18472

May 27, 1953

Kojo Bomani Sababu is a New Afrikan Prisoner of War.  He is currently serving a 55 year sentence for actions with the Black Liberation Army and attempted escape from prison with Puerto Rican Independista Oscar Lopez Rivera.

Kojo was born May 27th 1953 in Atlantic City New Jersey.  In 1962 his father died coming home from work and just two years later his mother was murdered.  A guiding presence in his life, Kojo was devastated by the loss of his mother.  Still, he continued to live out the lesson he taught him, that education is a tool with which to change society.

Kojo was captured on December 19th 1975 along with anarchist Ojore Lutalo during a bank expropriation.  He was also charged with the murder of a drug dealer in his neighborhood.

Convicted of one count of conspiracy for an alleged plan to use rockets, hand grenades and a helicopter in an attempt to free Puerto Rican Prisoner of War Oscar Lopez Rivera from the Federal prison at Leavenworth, Kan., where he was serving a 55-year sentence for a 1981 conviction of seditious conspiracy.

Thomas Manning

#10373-016–FMC Butner

Box 1600

Butner, NC 27509

United States

Birthday: June 28, 1946

Affiliation: ANTI-IMPERIALISTS FREEDOM FIGHTER

Tom Manning is a Vietnam veteran, working class revolutionary and US political prisoner. He militantly struggled against the war in Vietnam and supports the right of self-determination of all oppressed peoples. Tom Manning was captured in 1985 and sentenced to 58 years in federal prison for a series of bombings carried out as “armed propaganda” against apartheid and U.S. imperialism.  He tirelessly fought against racist, genocidal capitalism in the USA.

You can find information on his book of art here:

Freedom Archives

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Prostituted Women Crucial to Economic Growth

[Link] The following is an excerpt from The Industrial Vagina (Chapter 1, Feminists and the global sex industry: cheerleaders or critics) by Sheila Jeffreys.

There is no question that the prostitution of women has played a significant role in the development of many national economies and continues to do so. What is in question is whether this should be celebrated or condemned.

The role of black slavery in the construction of British economic supremacy in the 19th century, for instance, is considered a cause for shame rather than celebration.

It is not obvious that the contribution of prostituted women in debt bondage should receive a much more positive treatment. There is evidence of the way in which the prostitution of girls and women has contributed to the historical economic development of Japan and Australia. The foundation of the ‘comfort women’ system for the Japanese military in the 1930s and 1940s lies in the phenomenon of karayuki-san in the second half of the 19th century. Young women and girls from poor rural areas were kidnapped, deceived by being offered jobs or sold by their parents to traffickers, through very similar methods to those used today in the trafficking in women. They were smuggled out of Japan and sold to brothels in neighbouring countries, in particular China and the east coast of Russia. The children, some of whom were as young as seven when sold, were raised and trained in brothels in the major business centres for this industry, Vladivostok, Shanghai and Singapore. They were trafficked on to brothels in South East Asia, India, Australia, Hawaii, the East Coast of the US, and even Cape Town. In the decades after 1868 their numbers increased rapidly.

The trafficking of karayuki replicates closely the trafficking that takes place today. The girls were sold for $500–800 to brothels and were then in debt bondage, often finding themselves tied into servicing the debt for many years. Many never saw their homes again, and many committed suicide. By 1910 the number of registered karayuki-san was more than 19,000, whereas their equivalent in prostitution within Japan numbered only 47,541. The trafficking was well organized through established crime organizations such as the Yakuza which were traditionally involved in this trade.

…this form of trafficking in women was crucial to the rapid economic and industrial development of Japan in this period. But this importance was long neglected in scholarship. This neglect was perhaps similar to the neglect until comparatively recently of acknowledgement of the role of black slavery in the development of British capitalism.

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Book Review: Make RoJava Green Again, by The Internationalist Commune of Rojava

[Link] “In the Western world the authoritarian state and right wing movements are celebrating their comeback  – the former stars of neoliberalism are already on their way to open fascism.  Trump, Erdogan and Putin are removing the last masks of democracy.  In the face of these developments, most revolutionary movements stand frozen.  Marginalized and without perspective, scattered and estranged, the only role the system leaves for them is to observe and criticize.”

–From “Make Rojava Green Again”

Rojava is an area populated by Kurds and international volunteers that is located in Northern Syria, Northern Iraq, Western Iran and Eastern Turkey.  The all-female YPJ (an acronym whose translation means “Women’s Protection Units”) is the all-female brigade of the YPG, or “People’s Protection Units.” The YPJ have struggled for the past six years against sectarianism, and have worked tirelessly to save this once-healthy land.  This movement has been created and sustained by strong feminist women who are concerned about the health of their environment and a return to a healthy community.

This small book is an inspiration for those of us seeking to bring down established patriarchal, capitalist and sectarian cities and replace them with living communities.

In addition to fighting at the borders, they are raising fruit trees, building up depleted soil, and instituting safe water practices.  They fight against ISIS and build schools.  They bring their ideology of a woman-led society and care of the earth to the political situation in Kurdistan and the entire Middle East.  They are asking for volunteers to come help build a strong community.  Doctors, teachers, gardeners and anyone interested in fighting fascism while building a new, free community is welcome to come.

Go to Make Rojava Green Again for free online book; send email to contact@makerohavagreenagain.org for hard copy, to make a donation, or to send support. 

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Depressed and Then Diagnosed With Autism, Greta Thunberg Explains Why Hope Cannot Save Planet But Bold Climate Action Still Can

[Link] by Jon Queally / Common Dreams

As youth climate campaigners in the U.S. city of Brooklyn on Wednesday plan to continue a climate strike at least partly inspired by the ongoing vigil begun by 15-year-old Greta Thunberg in Sweden earlier this year, a new TEDx Talk released this week reveals that what inspired the Swedish teenager to take action was as simple as it was profound: she fell into sadness as she saw the leaders of the world—even those who admitted human-caused global warming was an “existential crisis”—continue to act and make policy decisions as though no emergency existed.

Everyone keeps saying, Thunberg declares in the 11-minute talk, that climate “is the most important issue of all, and yet they just carry on as before. I don’t understand that. Because if the emissions have to stop, then we must stop the emissions. To me that is black or white. There are no gray areas when it comes to survival. Either we go on as a civilization or we don’t. We have to change.”

As a key part of the talk, Thunberg describes how at the age of eleven, several years after learning about the concept of climate change for the first time, she fell into a depression and became ill. “I stopped talking. I stopped eating,” she explains. “In two months, I lost about ten kilos of weight. Later on I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, OCD, and selective mutism—that basically means I only speak when I think it’s necessary.”

After a short pause, she adds, “Now is one of those moments.”

“For those of us on the spectrum,” Thunberg explains to the audience, “almost everything is black or white. We aren’t very good at lying and we usually don’t enjoy participating in the social game as the rest of you seem so fond of. I think in many ways we autistic are the normal ones and the rest of the people are pretty strange—especially when it comes to the sustainability crisis.”

Towards the conclusion of her talk, Thunberg says that “this is when people usually start talking about hope—solar panels, wind power, circular economy, and so on—but I’m not going to do that.”

And continues, “We’ve had thirty years of pep-talking and selling positive ideas. And I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work. Because if it would have, the emissions would have gone down by now—they haven’t.”

Finally, she says: “Yes, we do need hope—of course, we do. But the one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere.”

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How Circular is the Circular Economy?

[Link] by Kris De Decker / Local Futures

The circular economy has become, for many governments, institutions, companies, and environmental organizations, one of the main components of a plan to lower carbon emissions. In the circular economy, resources would be continually re-used, meaning that there would be no more mining activity or waste production. The stress is on recycling, made possible by designing products so that they can easily be taken apart.

Attention is also paid to developing an “alternative consumer culture”. In the circular economy, we would no longer own products, but would loan them. For example, a customer could pay not for lighting devices but for light, while the company remains the owner of the lighting devices and pays the electricity bill. A product thus becomes a service, which is believed to encourage businesses to improve the lifespan and recyclability of their products.

The circular economy is presented as an alternative to the “linear economy” – a term that was coined by the proponents of circularity, and which refers to the fact that industrial societies turn valuable resources into waste. However, while there’s no doubt that the current industrial model is unsustainable, the question is how different to so-called circular economy would be.

Several scientific studies (see references) describe the concept as an “idealized vision”, a “mix of various ideas from different domains”, or a “vague idea based on pseudo-scientific concepts”. There are three main points of criticism, which we discuss below.

Too Complex to Recycle

The first dent in the credibility of the circular economy is the fact that the recycling process of modern products is far from 100% efficient. A circular economy is nothing new. In the middle ages, old clothes were turned into paper, food waste was fed to chickens or pigs, and new buildings were made from the remains of old buildings. The difference between then and now is the resources used.

Before industrialization, almost everything was made from materials that were either decomposable – like wood, reeds, or hemp – or easy to recycle or re-use – like iron and bricks. Modern products are composed of a much wider diversity of (new) materials, which are mostly not decomposable and are also not easily recycled. For example, a recent study of the modular Fairphone 2 – a smartphone designed to be recyclable and have a longer lifespan – shows that the use of synthetic materials, microchips, and batteries makes closing the circle impossible. Only 30% of the materials used in the Fairphone 2 can be recouped. A study of LED lights had a similar result.

The more complex a product, the more steps and processes it takes to recycle. In each step of this process, resources and energy are lost. Furthermore, in the case of electronic products, the production process itself is much more resource-intensive than the extraction of the raw materials, meaning that recycling the end product can only recoup a fraction of the input. And while some plastics are indeed being recycled, this process only produces inferior materials (“downcycling”) that enter the waste stream soon afterwards.

The low efficiency of the recycling process is, on its own, enough to take the ground from under the concept of the circular economy: the loss of resources during the recycling process always needs to be compensated with more over-extraction of the planet’s resources. Recycling processes will improve, but recycling is always a trade-off between maximum material recovery and minimum energy use. And that brings us to the next point.

How to Recycle Energy Sources?

The second dent in the credibility of the circular economy is the fact that 20% of total resources used worldwide are fossil fuels. More than 98% of that is burnt as a source of energy and can’t be re-used or recycled. At best, the excess heat from, for example, the generation of electricity, can be used to replace other heat sources.

As energy is transferred or transformed, its quality diminishes (second law of thermodynamics). For example, it’s impossible to operate one car or one power plant with the excess heat from another. Consequently, there will always be a need to mine new fossil fuels. Besides, recycling materials also requires energy, both through the recycling process and the transportation of recycled and to-be-recycled materials.

To this, the supporters of the circular economy have a response: we will shift to 100% renewable energy. But this doesn’t make the circle round: to build and maintain renewable energy plants and accompanied infrastructures, we also need resources (both energy and materials). What’s more, technology to harvest and store renewable energy relies on difficult-to-recycle materials. That’s why solar panels, wind turbines and lithium-ion batteries are not recycled, but landfilled or incinerated.

Input Exceeds Output

The third dent in the credibility of the circular economy is the biggest:  global resource use – both energetic and material – keeps increasing year by year. The use of resources grew by 1,400% in the last century: from 7 gigatons (Gt) in 1900 to 62 Gt in 2005 and 78 Gt in 2010. That’s an average growth of about 3% per year – more than double the rate of population growth.

Growth makes a circular economy impossible, even if all raw materials were recycled and all recycling was 100% efficient. The amount of used material that can be recycled will always be smaller than the material needed for growth. To compensate for that, we have to continuously extract more resources.

The difference between demand and supply is bigger than you might think. If we look at the whole life cycle of resources, then it becomes clear that proponents for a circular economy only focus on a very small part of the whole system, and thereby misunderstand the way it operates.

A considerable segment of all resources – about a third of the total – are neither recycled, nor incinerated or dumped: they are accumulated in buildings, infrastructure, and consumer goods. In 2005, 62 Gt of resources were used globally. After subtracting energy sources (fossil fuels and biomass) and waste from the mining sector, the remaining 30 Gt were used to make material goods. Of these, 4 Gt was used to make products that last for less than one year (disposable products).

The other 26 Gt was accumulated in buildings, infrastructure, and consumer goods that last for more than a year. In the same year, 9 Gt of all surplus resources were disposed of, meaning that the “stocks” of material capital grew by 17 Gt in 2005. In comparison: the total waste that could be recycled in 2005 was only 13 Gt (4 Gt disposable products and 9 Gt surplus resources), of which only a third (4 Gt) can be effectively recycled.  About a third of all resources are neither recycled, nor incinerated or dumped: they are accumulated in buildings, infrastructure, and consumer goods.

Only 9 Gt is then put in a landfill, incinerated, or dumped – and it is this 9 Gt that the circular economy focuses on. But even if that was all recycled, and if the recycling processes were 100% efficient, the circle would still not be closed: 63 Gt in raw materials and 30 Gt in material products would still be needed.

As long as we keep accumulating raw materials, the closing of the material life cycle remains an illusion, even for materials that are, in principle, recyclable. For example, recycled metals can only supply 36% of the yearly demand for new metal, even if metal has relatively high recycling capacity, at about 70%. We still use more raw materials in the system than can be made available through recycling – and so there are simply not enough recyclable raw materials to put a stop to the continuously expanding extractive economy.

The True Face of the Circular Economy

A more responsible use of resources is of course an excellent idea. But to achieve that, recycling and re-use alone aren’t enough. Since 71% of all resources cannot be recycled or re-used (44% of which are energy sources and 27% of which are added to existing stocks), you can only really get better numbers by reducing total use.

A circular economy would therefore demand that we use less fossil fuels (which isn’t the same as using more renewable energy), and that we accumulate less raw materials in commodities. Most importantly, we need to make less stuff: fewer cars, fewer microchips, fewer buildings. This would result in a double profit: we would need less resources, while the supply of discarded materials available for re-use and recycling would keep growing for many years to come.

It seems unlikely that the proponents of the circular economy would accept these additional conditions. The concept of the circular economy is intended to align sustainability with economic growth – in other words, more cars, more microchips, more buildings. For example, the European Union states that the circular economy will “foster sustainable economic growth”.

Even the limited goals of the circular economy – total recycling of a fraction of resources – demands an extra condition that proponents probably won’t agree with: that everything is once again made with wood and simple metals, without using synthetic materials, semi-conductors, lithium-ion batteries or composite materials.

This post originally appeared in Low-Tech Magazine, and republished by Local Futures.

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Canadian Court Gives Coastal Gaslink Permission to Violate Indigenous Rights

[Link] by Courtney Parker / Intercontinental Cry

For over 6 years now, environmental defenders representing the Unist’ot’en, an official faction of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, have been standing guard over their traditional territory from invasion by Transcanada’s Coastal Gaslink pipeline.

On December 14, 2018, a British Columbia Supreme Court Justice levied a temporary injunction, ordering an end to the blockade — bypassing the required consent of tribal leaders.

Prior to this, a gated blockade had prevented pipeline workers from trespassing onto First Nation lands through the Morice River bridge — located on a forest road.

The injunction, which demands environmental defenders vacate their stronghold of resistance to the planned 670 kilometer pipeline, is set to start on Monday, December 17th, allowing pipeline workers free passage until May 2019.

In a show of quasi-generosity, Coastal Gaslink has stated that the camp connected to the blockade may remain in place… as long as they discontinue any obstruction of pre-construction traffic through the gated area.

“Right now, our focus is on respectfully and safely moving forward with project activities, including gaining safe access across the Morice River bridge … We simply ask that their activities do not disrupt or jeopardize the safety of our employees and contractors, surrounding communities or even themselves,” Coastal GasLink said in a statement.

Representatives of Coastal Gaslink have also cited an inability of First Nation communities to provide restitution for any ‘losses’ the company could incur through delays or obstructions to construction plans as support for the injunction and enforcement order.

Yet, enforcement of the project remains dubious given that the territory has never changed hands via treaty, nor have land rights ever been conceded in any manner. In effect, the right of the Unist’ot’en People to determine the fate of their ancestral land remains intact.

This also makes the injunction a clear violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which requires ‘free, prior and informed consent’ (FPIC) when it comes to development, investment or extraction initiatives on Indigenous territories.

The area in question has been occupied by the Unist’ot’en for generations; their current leader, Chief Knedebeas, describes occupying and carrying out tribal traditions there since his childhood.

Now, the territory under threat is being used as a crucial healing center where Wet’suwet’en people are receiving treatment for addiction. Freda Hudson, Unist’ot’en clan, explained:

“The Unist’ot’en Healing Centre was constructed to fulfill their vision of a culturally-safe healing program, centred on the healing properties of the land. It is the embodiment of self-determined wellness and decolonization, with potential to build up culture-based resiliency of Indigenous people who need support, through re-establishing relationships with land, ancestors and the underlying universal teachings that connect distinct Indigenous communities across the world.”

The Unist’ot’en have until January 31, 2019 to respond to Coastal Gaslink’s application.

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Courage

[Story] by Max Wilbert / Deep Green Resistance

People often talk about ecological collapse as if it were a distant scenario that might play out in the future, but the reality is that the planet is currently in a state of collapse. This process has been underway for decades.

Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa and a state still emerging from its legacy as a principal hub of the transcontinental slave trade and decades of British colonial rule.

Although it has long since gained independence, Nigeria has been a virtual oil colony for more than 60 years. Multinational corporations such as Shell and Chevron essentially run the Nigerian government, funding corrupt politicians and military officers to quash all legitimate dissent.  Despite the supposed shift to democracy in 1999, Nigeria remains an economic colony run by oligarchs and foreign corporations. Its current president is retired general Muhammadu Buhari, who some locals describe as “Mr. Oil.”[i]

The hardest-hit zone is the oil-rich Niger River Delta, a vast wetland that has been turned into a toxic cesspool by the equivalent of an Exxon-Valdez sized oil spill every single year. Between oil spills, acid rain, and water contamination, the residents of the Niger River Delta are on the front lines of the environmental and capitalist crisis.

In the 1990’s, political opposition to oil extraction in the Niger River Delta became widespread. Much of the resistance was led by women, as Nigeria has a long history of collective women’s action. But the most famous figure of the resistance was Ken Saro-Wiwa, a poet-turned activist who led the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni people (MOSOP).

In 1995, Nigeria’s ruling military dictatorship arrested Saro-Wiwa along with 8 other leaders of MOSOP on trumped-up charges. They were tried and executed by hanging, and their bodies were dumped into a mass grave. This atrocity marked the end of the non-violent campaign in Nigeria and the beginning of a new phase of struggle.

In the mid-2000’s, a militant group emerged in Nigeria known as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta—MEND. Born out of the failure of non-violence, MEND adopted radical new tactics: kidnapping oil workers for ransom, assassinating executives, and sabotaging oil pipelines, tankers, pump stations, offshore platforms, and other infrastructure.

MEND’s tactics have been innovative, using speed, stealth, and intelligence to target their attacks where they will do the most damage. At the height of their operations, MEND disabled a full half of all oil capacity in Nigeria, the largest oil exporting nation in Africa and a member of OPEC. One analyst writes that MEND’s targets have “been accurately selected to completely shut down production and delay/halt repairs.”[ii]

In 2006, MEND militants released a chilling letter reminding the oil companies of their total commitment.

“It must be clear that the Nigerian government cannot protect your workers or assets. Leave our land while you can or die in it,” the group wrote. “Our aim is to totally destroy the capacity of the Nigerian government to export oil.”[iii]

It is difficult for us to imagine the level of courage it takes for people from the Niger River Delta to rise up in the face of nearly impossible odds against Shell’s elite private mercenary armies and the American-trained special forces units of the Nigerian military.

But we must imagine it, and compare this to our own courage, or lack of courage.

Here in the United States, a grossly inequal and destructive society has been built on land stolen from indigenous people. Slaves built the American capitalism which today is maintained by weapons manufacturers, parasitic drug companies, predatory finance and investment banks, a private prison system that differs little from chattel slavery, and a global oil empire that has been built on the bones of the Ogoni people, on the total poisoning of the Gulf of Mexico, and on the tar sands, the largest and most destructive industrial project on Earth.

The signs of what is happening are so clear ignorance is a willful choice. Just a few days ago, the United Nations warned of imminent “ecosystem collapse.” The IPCC has issued warning after warning of the dire consequences of global warming. Plankton populations, the very foundation of oceanic life and the source of most of the world’s oxygen, are collapsing. Insect populations are collapsing. The last fragments of uncut forests around the world are falling to the chainsaw as fascists and militarists like Bolsonaro, Trump, Putin, Jinping, and Duterte sell off every last fragment of the planet to fund their nationalist, militarist dreams. Coral reefs are dying, wetlands are being drained, and rising seas are expected to make 2 billion people into refugees by century’s end.

As our world teeters on the brink of total ecological and social collapse, we have no more excuses. We have all the information and all the inspiration we need. The times are prompting us to exercise our “revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow” the systems that are murdering the planet and trampling human lives.

If we continue to take no action, we are all cowards. There is no other way to explain our inaction.

[i] Nigeria Oil and Gas: An Introduction and Outlook. By Dele Ogun. Oil and Gas IQ. October 16, 2018. https://www.oilandgasiq.com/market-outlook/news/nigeria-oil-and-gas-an-introduction-and-outlook.

[ii] Nigerian Evoluition. Global Guerillas. January 2006. https://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2006/01/nigerian_evolut.html.

[iii] NIGERIA: Shell may pull out of Niger Delta after 17 die in boat raid. By Daniel Howden. Corpwatch. January 17, 2006. https://corpwatch.org/article/nigeria-shell-may-pull-out-niger-delta-after-17-die-boat-raid.

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Book Excerpt: Target Selection

[Story] Editor’s note: The following is from the chapter “Tactics and Targets” of the book Deep Green Resistance: A Strategy to Save the  Planet. This book is now available for free online.

by Aric McBay

A good tactic used on a poor target has little effect.

The Field Manual on Guerrilla Warfare identifies four “important factors related to the target which influence its final selection,”10 later expanded to six with the CARVER matrix.13 These criteria are meant specifically for targets to be disrupted or destroyed, not necessarily when choosing potential targets for intelligence gathering or further investigation. The six criteria are as follows:

Criticality. How important is this target to the enemy and to enemy operations? “A target is critical when its destruction or damage will exercise a significant influence upon the enemy’s ability to conduct or support operations. Such targets as bridges, tunnels, ravines, and mountain passes are critical to lines of communication; engines, ties, and POL [petroleum, oil, and lubricant] stores are critical to transportation. Each target is considered in relationship to other elements of the target system.” Resistance movements (and the military) look for bottlenecks when selecting a target. And they make sure to think in big picture terms, rather than just in terms of a specific individual target. What target(s) can be disrupted or destroyed to cause maximum damage to the entire enemy system? Multiple concurrent surprise attacks are ideal for resistance movements, and can cause cascading failures.

Accessibility. How easy is it to get near the target? “Accessibility is measured by the ability of the attacker to infiltrate into the target area. In studying a target for accessibility, security controls around the target area, location of the target, and means of infiltration are considered.” It’s important to make a clear distinction between accessibility and vulnerability. For a resister in Occupied France, a well-guarded fuel depot might be explosively vulnerable, but not very accessible. For resisters in German-occupied Warsaw, the heavy wall surrounding the Warsaw Ghetto might be easily accessible, but not very vulnerable unless they carried powerful explosives. Good intelligence and reconnaissance are key to identifying and bypassing obstacles to access.

Recuperability. How much effort would it take to rebuild or replace the target? “Recuperability is the enemy’s ability to restore a damaged facility to normal operating capacity. It is affected by the enemy capability to repair and replace damaged portions of the target.” Specialized installations, hard-to-find parts, or people with special unique skills are difficult to replace. Targets with very common or mass-produced and stockpiled components would be poorer targets in terms of recuperability. Undermining enemy recuperability can be done with good planning and multiple attacks: SOE saboteurs were trained to target the same important parts on every machine. If they were to sabotage all of the locomotives in a stockyard, they would blow up the same part on each train, thus preventing the engineers from cannibalizing parts from other trains to make a working one.

Vulnerability. How tough is the target? “Vulnerability is a target’s susceptibility to attack by means available to [resistance] forces. Vulnerability is influenced by the nature of the target, i.e., type, size, disposition and composition.” In military terminology, a “soft target” is one that is relatively vulnerable, while a “hard target” is well defended or fortified. A soft target could be a sensitive electrical component, a flammable storage shed, or a person. A hard target might be a roadway, a concrete bunker, or a military installation. Hard targets require more capacity or armament to disable. A battle tank might have lower vulnerability when faced with a resister armed with a Molotov cocktail, but high vulnerability against someone armed with a rocket-propelled grenade.

Effect. Will a successful attack increase the chances of achieving larger goals? What consequences might result, intended and unintended? An attack on a pipeline might result in an oil spill, with collateral damage to life in the immediate vicinity. Escalation of sabotage might result in increased surveillance and repression of the general populace.

Recognizability. How difficult is it to identify the target during the operation, under different conditions of daylight, weather, and season? A brightly lit facility adjacent to a road is easy to locate, even at night, but it may be difficult to pick out a particular oil derrick owned by a particular company amidst acres of wells, or a specific CEO in a crowd of businesspeople.

From this perspective the ideal target would be highly critical (such that damage would cause cascading systems failures), highly vulnerable, very accessible and easy to identify, difficult and time-consuming to repair or replace, and unlikely to cause undesirable side effects. The poorest target would be of low importance for enemy operations but with high risk of negative side effects, hardened, inaccessible and hard to find, and easily replaced. You’ll note that there’s no category for “symbolic value” to the enemy, because the writers of the manual weren’t interested in symbolic targets. They consistently emphasize that successful operations will undermine the morale of the adversary, while increasing morale of the resisters and their supporters. The point is to carry out decisively effective action with the knowledge that such action will have emotional benefits for your side, not to carry out operations that seem emotionally appealing in the hopes that those choices will lead to effective action.

An additional criterion not discussed above would be destructivity. How damaging is the existence of the target to people and other living creatures? A natural gas–burning power plant might be more valuable based on the six criteria, but a coal-fired power plant could be more destructive, making it a higher priority from a practical and symbolic perspective.

It’s rare to find a perfect target. It’s more likely that choosing among targets will require certain trade-offs. A remote enemy installation might be more vulnerable, but it could also be more difficult to access and possibly less important to the adversary. Larger, more critical installations are often better guarded and less vulnerable. Target decisions have to be made in the context of the larger strategy, taking into account tactics and organizational capability.

One of the reasons that the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) has had limited decisive success so far is that its targets have had low criticality and high recuperability. New suburban subdivisions are certainly crimes against ecology, but partially constructed homes are not very important to those in power, and they are relatively replaceable. The effect is primarily symbolic, and it’s hard to find a case in which a construction project has actually been given up because of ELF activity—although many have certainly been made more expensive.

Most often, it seems that resistance targets in North America are chosen on the basis of vulnerability and accessibility, rather than on criticality. It’s easy to walk up to a Walmart window and smash it in the middle of the night or to destroy a Foot Locker storefront during a protest march. Aggressive symbolic attacks do get attention, and if a person’s main indicator of success is a furor on the 10:00 pm news, then igniting the local Burger King is likely to achieve that. But making a decisive impact on systems of power and their basis of support is more difficult to measure. If those in power are clever, they’ll downplay the really damaging actions to make themselves seem invulnerable, but scream bloody murder over a smashed window in order to whip up public opinion. And isn’t that what often happens on the news? If a biotech office is smashed and not a single person injured, the corporate journalists and pundits start pontificating about “violence” and “terrorism.” But if a dozen US soldiers are blown up by insurgents in Iraq, the White House press secretary will calmly repeat over and over that “America” is winning and that these incidents are only minor setbacks.

The Black Liberation Army (BLA) is an example of a group that chose targets in alignment with its goals. The BLA formed as an offshoot (or, some would argue, as a parallel development) of the Black Panther Party. The BLA was not interested in symbolic targets, but in directly targeting those who oppressed people of color. Writes historian Dan Berger: “The BLA’s Program included three components: retaliation against police violence in Black communities; elimination of drugs and drug dealers from Black communities; and helping captured BLA members escape from prison.”11 The BLA essentially believed that aboveground black organizing was doomed because of violent COINTELPRO-style tactics, and that the BPP had become a reformist organization. They argued that “the character of reformism is based on unprincipled class collaboration with our enemy.”12 In part because of their direct personal experience of violent repression at the hands of the state, they did not hesitate to kill white police officers in retaliation for attacks on the black community.

The IRA was also ruthless in their target selection, though they had limited choices in terms of attacking their occupiers. By the time WWII rolled around, resisters in Europe had a wide variety of potential and critical targets for sabotage, such as rail and telegraph lines, and further industrialization has only increased the number of critical mechanical targets, but a century ago, Ireland was hardly mechanized at all. That is why Michael Collins correctly identified British intelligence agents as the most critical and least recuperable targets available. Furthermore, his networks of spies and assassins made those agents—already soft targets—highly accessible. They were a perfect match for all six target selection criteria.

It’s worth noting that these six criteria are not just applicable to targets that are going to be destroyed. The same criteria are used to select “pressure points” on which to exert political force for any strategy of resistance, even one that is explicitly nonviolent. Effective strikes or acts of civil disobedience can exert more political force by disrupting more critical and vulnerable targets—the more accessible, the better.

These criteria for target selection go both ways. Our own resistance movements are targets for those in power, and it’s important to understand our organizations as potential targets. Leaders have often been attacked because they were crucial to the organization. Underground leaders are less accessible, but potentially more vulnerable if they can be isolated from their base of support. And aboveground groups often have better recuperability, because they have a larger pool to draw from and fewer training requirements; recall the waves after waves of civil rights activists willing to be arrested in Birmingham, Alabama.

Anyone who casts their lot with a resistance movement must be prepared for reprisals. Those reprisals will come whether the actionists are aboveground or underground, choosing violence or nonviolence. Many activists, especially from privileged backgrounds, naïvely assume that fighting fair will somehow cause those in power to do the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. The moment that any power structure feels threatened, it will retaliate. It will torture Buddhists and nuns, turn fire hoses on school children, and kill innocent civilians. A brief perusal of Amnesty International’s website will acquaint you with nonviolent protestors around the globe currently being detained and tortured or who have disappeared for simple actions like letter writing or peaceably demonstrating.

This is a reality that privileged people must come to terms with or else any movement risks a rupture when power comes down on actionists. Those retaliations are not anyone’s fault; they are to be expected. Any serious resistance movement should be intellectually and emotionally prepared for the power structure’s response. People are arrested, detained, and killed—often in large numbers—when power strikes back. Those who provide a challenge to power will be faced with consequences, some of them inhumanly cruel. The sooner everyone understands that, the better prepared we all will be to handle it.

Now, having discussed what makes good strategy, how resistance groups organize effectively, and what sort of culture resistance groups need to support them, it is time to take a deep breath. A real deep breath.

This culture is killing the planet. It systematically dispossesses sustainable indigenous cultures. Runaway global warming (and other toxic effects of this culture) could easily lead to billions of human deaths, and indeed the murder of the oceans, and even more, the effective destruction of this planet’s capacity to support life.

The question becomes: what is to be done?

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Book Excerpt: The Four Phases of Decisive Ecological Warfare

[Link] Editor’s note: The following is from the chapter “Decisive Ecological Warfare” of the book Deep Green Resistance: A Strategy to Save the  Planet. This book is now available for free online.

by Aric McBay

In this alternate future scenario, Decisive Ecological Warfare has four phases that progress from the near future through the fall of industrial civilization. The first phase is Networking & Mobilization. The second phase is Sabotage & Asymmetric Action. The third phase is Systems Disruption. And the fourth and final phase is Decisive Dismantling of Infrastructure.

Each phase has its own objectives, operational approaches, and organizational requirements. There’s no distinct dividing line between the phases, and different regions progress through the phases at different times. These phases emphasize the role of militant resistance networks. The aboveground building of alternatives and revitalization of human communities happen at the same time. But this does not require the same strategic rigor; rebuilding healthy human communities with a subsistence base must simply happen as fast as possible, everywhere, with timetables and methods suited to the region. This scenario’s militant resisters, on the other hand, need to share some grand strategy to succeed.

PHASE I: NETWORKING & MOBILIZATION

Preamble: In phase one, resisters focus on organizing themselves into networks and building cultures of resistance to sustain those networks. Many sympathizers or potential recruits are unfamiliar with serious resistance strategy and action, so efforts are taken to spread that information. But key in this phase is actually forming the above- and underground organizations (or at least nuclei) that will carry out organizational recruitment and decisive action. Security culture and resistance culture are not very well developed at this point, so extra efforts are made to avoid sloppy mistakes that would lead to arrests, and to dissuade informers from gathering or passing on information.

Training of activists is key in this phase, especially through low-risk (but effective) actions. New recruits will become the combatants, cadres, and leaders of later phases. New activists are enculturated into the resistance ethos, and existing activists drop bad or counterproductive habits. This is a time when the resistance movement gets organized and gets serious. People are putting their individual needs and conflicts aside in order to form a movement that can fight to win.

In this phase, isolated people come together to form a vision and strategy for the future, and to establish the nuclei of future organizations. Of course, networking occurs with resistance-oriented organizations that already exist, but most mainstream organizations are not willing to adopt positions of militancy or intransigence with regard to those in power or the crises they face. If possible, they should be encouraged to take positions more in line with the scale of the problems at hand.

This phase is already underway, but a great deal of work remains to be done.

Objectives:

– To build a culture of resistance, with all that entails.

– To build aboveground and underground resistance networks, and to ensure the survival of those networks.

Operations:

– Operations are generally lower-risk actions, so that people can be trained and screened, and support networks put in place. These will fall primarily into the sustaining and shaping categories.

– Maximal recruitment and training is very important at this point. The earlier people are recruited, the more likely they are to be trustworthy and the longer time is available to screen them for their competency for more serious action.

– Communications and propaganda operations are also required for outreach and to spread information about useful tactics and strategies, and on the necessity for organized action.

Organization:

– Most resistance organizations in this scenario are still diffuse networks, but they begin to extend and coalesce. This phase aims to build organization.

PHASE II: SABOTAGE & ASYMMETRIC ACTION

Preamble: In this phase, the resisters might attempt to disrupt or disable particular targets on an opportunistic basis. For the most part, the required underground networks and skills do not yet exist to take on multiple larger targets. Resisters may go after particularly egregious targets—coal-fired power plants or exploitative banks. At this phase, the resistance focus is on practice, probing enemy networks and security, and increasing support while building organizational networks. In this possible future, underground cells do not attempt to provoke overwhelming repression beyond the ability of what their nascent networks can cope with. Furthermore, when serious repression and setbacks do occur, they retreat toward the earlier phase with its emphasis on organization and survival. Indeed, major setbacks probably do happen at this phase, indicating a lack of basic rules and structure and signaling the need to fall back on some of the priorities of the first phase.

The resistance movement in this scenario understands the importance of decisive action. Their emphasis in the first two phases has not been on direct action, but not because they are holding back. It’s because they are working as well as they damned well can, but doing so while putting one foot in front of the other. They know that the planet (and the future) need their action, but understand that it won’t benefit from foolish and hasty action, or from creating problems for which they are not yet prepared. That only leads to a morale whiplash and disappointment. So their movement acts as seriously and swiftly and decisively as it can, but makes sure that it lays the foundation it needs to be truly effective.

The more people join that movement, the harder they work, and the more driven they are, the faster they can progress from one phase to the next.

In this alternate future, aboveground activists in particular take on several important tasks. They push for acceptance and normalization of more militant and radical tactics where appropriate. They vocally support sabotage when it occurs. More moderate advocacy groups use the occurrence of sabotage to criticize those in power for failing to take action on critical issues like climate change (rather than criticizing the saboteurs). They argue that sabotage would not be necessary if civil society would make a reasonable response to social and ecological problems, and use the opportunity and publicity to push solutions to the problems. They do not side with those in power against the saboteurs, but argue that the situation is serious enough to make such action legitimate, even though they have personally chosen a different course.

At this point in the scenario, more radical and grassroots groups continue to establish a community of resistance, but also establish discrete organizations and parallel institutions. These institutions establish themselves and their legitimacy, make community connections, and particularly take steps to found relationships outside of the traditional “activist bubble.” These institutions also focus on emergency and disaster preparedness, and helping people cope with impending collapse.

Simultaneously, aboveground activists organize people for civil disobedience, mass confrontation, and other forms of direct action where appropriate.

Something else begins to happen: aboveground organizations establish coalitions, confederations, and regional networks, knowing that there will be greater obstacles to these later on. These confederations maximize the potential of aboveground organizing by sharing materials, knowledge, skills, learning curricula, and so on. They also plan strategically themselves, engaging in persistent planned campaigns instead of reactive or crisis-to-crisis organizing.

Objectives:

– Identify and engage high-priority individual targets. These targets are chosen by these resisters because they are especially attainable or for other reasons of target selection.

– Give training and real-world experience to cadres necessary to take on bigger targets and systems. Even decisive actions are limited in scope and impact at this phase, although good target selection and timing allows for significant gains.

– These operations also expose weak points in the system, demonstrate the feasibility of material resistance, and inspire other resisters.

– Publically establish the rationale for material resistance and confrontation with power.

– Establish concrete aboveground organizations and parallel institutions.

Operations:

– Limited but increasing decisive operations, combined with growing sustaining operations (to support larger and more logistically demanding organizations) and continued shaping operations.

– In decisive and supporting operations, these hypothetical resisters are cautious and smart. New and unseasoned cadres have a tendency to be overconfident, so to compensate they pick only operations with certain outcomes; they know that in this stage they are still building toward the bigger actions that are yet to come.

Organization:

– Requires underground cells, but benefits from larger underground networks. There is still an emphasis on recruitment at this point. Aboveground networks and movements are proliferating as much as they can, especially since the work to come requires significant lead time for developing skills, communities, and so on.

PHASE III: SYSTEMS DISRUPTION

Preamble: In this phase resisters step up from individual targets to address entire industrial, political, and economic systems. Industrial systems disruption requires underground networks organized in a hierarchal or paramilitary fashion. These larger networks emerge out of the previous phases with the ability to carry out multiple simultaneous actions.

Systems disruption is aimed at identifying key points and bottlenecks in the adversary’s systems (electrical, transport, financial, and so on) and engaging them to collapse those systems or reduce their functionality. This is not a one-shot deal. Industrial systems are big and can be fragile, but they are sprawling rather than monolithic. Repairs are attempted. The resistance members understand that. Effective systems disruption requires planning for continued and coordinated actions over time.

In this scenario, the aboveground doesn’t truly gain traction as long as there is business as usual. On the other hand, as global industrial and economic systems are increasingly disrupted (because of capitalist-induced economic collapse, global climate disasters, peak oil, peak soil, peak water, or for other reasons) support for resilient local communities increases. Failures in the delivery of electricity and manufactured goods increases interest in local food, energy, and the like. These disruptions also make it easier for people to cope with full collapse in the long term—short-term loss, long-term gain, even where humans are concerned.

Dimitry Orlov, a major analyst of the Soviet collapse, explains that the dysfunctional nature of the Soviet system prepared people for its eventual disintegration. In contrast, a smoothly functioning industrial economy causes a false sense of security so that people are unprepared, worsening the impact. “After collapse, you regret not having an unreliable retail segment, with shortages and long bread lines, because then people would have been forced to learn to shift for themselves instead of standing around waiting for somebody to come and feed them.”18

Aboveground organizations and institutions are well-established by this phase of this alternate scenario. They continue to push for reforms, focusing on the urgent need for justice, relocalization, and resilient communities, given that the dominant system is unfair, unreliable, and unstable.

Of course, in this scenario the militant actions that impact daily life provoke a backlash, sometimes from parts of the public, but especially from authoritarians on every level. The aboveground activists are the frontline fighters against authoritarianism. They are the only ones who can mobilize the popular groundswell needed to prevent fascism.

Furthermore, aboveground activists use the disrupted systems as an opportunity to strengthen local communities and parallel institutions. Mainstream people are encouraged to swing their support to participatory local alternatives in the economic, political, and social spheres. When economic turmoil causes unemployment and hyperinflation, people are employed locally for the benefit of their community and the land. In this scenario, as national governments around the world increasingly struggle with crises (like peak oil, food shortages, climate chaos, and so on) and increasingly fail to provide for people, local and directly democratic councils begin to take over administration of basic and emergency services, and people redirect their taxes to those local entities (perhaps as part of a campaign of general noncooperation against those in power). This happens in conjunction with the community emergency response and disaster preparedness measures already undertaken.

In this scenario, whenever those in power try to increase exploitation or authoritarianism, aboveground resisters call for people to withdraw support from those in power, and divert it to local, democratic political bodies. Those parallel institutions can do a better job than those in power. The cross demographic relationships established in previous phases help to keep those local political structures accountable, and to rally support from many communities.

Throughout this phase, strategic efforts are made to augment existing stresses on economic and industrial systems caused by peak oil, financial instability, and related factors. The resisters think of themselves as pushing on a rickety building that’s already starting to lean. Indeed, in this scenario many systems disruptions come from within the system itself, rather than from resisters.

This phase accomplishes significant and decisive gains. Even if the main industrial and economic systems have not completely collapsed, prolonged disruption means a reduction in ecological impact; great news for the planet, and for humanity’s future survival. Even a 50 percent decrease in industrial consumption or greenhouse gas emissions is a massive victory (especially considering that emissions have continued to rise in the face of all environmental activism so far), and that buys resisters—and everyone else—some time.

In the most optimistic parts of this hypothetical scenario, effective resistance induces those in power to negotiate or offer concessions. Once the resistance movement demonstrates the ability to use real strategy and force, it can’t be ignored. Those in power begin to knock down the doors of mainstream activists, begging to negotiate changes that would co-opt the resistance movements’ cause and reduce further actions.

In this version of the future, however, resistance groups truly begin to take the initiative. They understand that for most of the history of civilization, those in power have retained the initiative, forcing resistance groups or colonized people to stay on the defensive, to respond to attacks, to be constantly kept off balance. However, peak oil and systems disruption has caused a series of emergencies for those in power; some caused by organized resistance groups, some caused by civil unrest and shortages, and some caused by the social and ecological consequences of centuries—millennia—of exploitation. For perhaps the first time in history, those in power are globally off balance and occupied by worsening crisis after crisis. This provides a key opportunity for resistance groups, and autonomous cultures and communities, to seize and retain the initiative.

Objectives:

– Target key points of specific industrial and economic systems to disrupt and disable them.

– Effect a measurable decrease in industrial activity and industrial consumption.

– Enable concessions, negotiations, or social changes if applicable.

– Induce the collapse of particular companies, industries, or economic systems.

Operations:

– Mostly decisive and sustaining, but shaping where necessary for systems disruption. Cadres and combatants should be increasingly seasoned at this point, but the onset of decisive and serious action will mean a high attrition rate for resisters. There’s no point in being vague; the members of the resistance in this alternate future who are committed to militant resistance go in expecting that they will either end up dead or in jail. They know that anything better than that was a gift to be won through skill and luck.

Organization:

– Heavy use of underground networks required; operational coordination is a prerequisite for effective systems disruption.

– Recruitment is ongoing at this point; especially to recruit auxiliaries and to cope with losses due to attrition. However, during this phase there are multiple serious attempts at infiltration. The infiltrations are not as successful as they might have been, because underground networks have recruited heavily in previous stages (before large-scale action) to ensure the presence of a trusted group of leaders and cadres who form the backbone of the networks.

– Aboveground organizations are able to mobilize extensively because of various social, political, and material crises.

– At this point, militant resisters become concerned about backlash from people who should be on their side, such as many liberals, especially as those in power put pressure on aboveground activists.

PHASE IV: DECISIVE DISMANTLING OF INFRASTRUCTURE

Preamble: Decisive dismantling of infrastructure goes a step beyond systems disruption. The intent is to permanently dismantle as much of the fossil fuel–based industrial infrastructure as possible. This phase is the last resort; in the most optimistic projection, it would not be necessary: converging crises and infrastructure disruption would combine with vigorous aboveground movements to force those in power to accept social, political, and economic change; reductions in consumption would combine with a genuine and sincere attempt to transition to a sustainable culture.

But this optimistic projection is not probable. It is more likely that those in power (and many everyday people) will cling more to civilization even as it collapses. And likely, they will support authoritarianism if they think it will maintain their privilege and their entitlement.

The key issue—which we’ve come back to again and again—is time. We will soon reach (if we haven’t already reached) the trigger point of irreversible runaway global warming. The systems disruption phase of this hypothetical scenario offers selectivity. Disruptions in this scenario are engineered in a way that shifts the impact toward industry and attempts to minimize impacts on civilians. But industrial systems are heavily integrated with civilian infrastructure. If selective disruption doesn’t work soon enough, some resisters may conclude that all-out disruption is required to stop the planet from burning to a cinder.

The difference between phases III and IV of this scenario may appear subtle, since they both involve, on an operational level, coordinated actions to disrupt industrial systems on a large scale. But phase III requires some time to work—to weaken the system, to mobilize people and organizations, to build on a series of disruptive actions. Phase III also gives “fair warning” for regular people to prepare. Furthermore, phase III gives time for the resistance to develop itself logistically and organizationally, which is required to proceed to phase IV. The difference between the two phases is capacity and restraint. For resisters in this scenario to proceed from phase III to phase IV, they need two things: the organizational capacity to take on the scope of action required under phase IV, and the certainty that there is no longer any point in waiting for societal reforms to succeed on their own timetable.

In this scenario, both of those phases save lives, human and nonhuman alike. But if large-scale aboveground mobilization does not happen once collapse is underway, phase IV becomes the most effective way to save lives.

Imagine that you are riding in a streetcar through a city crowded with pedestrians. Inside the streetcar are the civilized humans, and outside is all the nonhuman life on the planet, and the humans who are not civilized, or who do not benefit from civilization, or who have yet to be born. Needless to say, those outside far outnumber the few of you inside the streetcar. But the driver of the streetcar is in a hurry, and is accelerating as fast as he can, plowing through the crowds, maiming and killing pedestrians en masse. Most of your fellow passengers don’t seem to particularly care; they’ve got somewhere to go, and they’re glad to be making progress regardless of the cost.

Some of the passengers seem upset by the situation. If the driver keeps accelerating, they observe, it’s possible that the streetcar will crash and the passengers will be injured. Not to worry, one man tells them. His calculations show that the bodies piling up in front of the streetcar will eventually slow the vehicle and cause it to safely come to a halt. Any intervention by the passengers would be reckless, and would surely provoke a reprimand from the driver. Worse, a troublesome passenger might be kicked off the streetcar and later run over by it.

You, unlike most passengers, are more concerned by the constant carnage outside than by the future safety of the streetcar passengers. And you know you have to do something. You could try to jump out the window and escape, but then the streetcar would plow on through the crowd, and you would lose any chance to intervene. So you decide to try to sabotage the streetcar from the inside, to cut the electrical wires, or pull up the flooring and activate the brakes by hand, or derail it, or do whatever you can.

As soon as the other passengers realize what you are doing, they’ll try to stop you, and maybe kill you. You have to decide whether you are going to stop the streetcar slowly or speedily. The streetcar is racing along so quickly now that if you stop it suddenly, it may fling the passengers against the seats in front of them or down the aisle. It may kill some of them. But if you stop it slowly, who knows how many innocent people will be struck by the streetcar while it is decelerating? And if you just slow it down, the driver may be able to repair the damage and get the streetcar going again.

So what do you do? If you choose to stop the streetcar as quickly as possible, then you have made the same choice as those who would implement phase IV. You’ve made the decision that stopping the destruction as rapidly as possible is more important than any particular program of reform. Of course, even in stopping the destruction as rapidly as possible, you can still take measures to reduce casualties on board the streetcar. You can tell people to sit down or buckle up or brace themselves for impact. Whether they will listen to you is another story, but that’s their responsibility, not yours.

It’s important to not misinterpret the point of phase IV of this alternate future scenario. The point is not to cause human casualties. The point is to stop the destruction of the planet. The enemy is not the civilian population—or any population at all—but a sociopathological sociopolitical and economic system. Ecological destruction on this planet is primarily caused by industry and capitalism; the issue of population is tertiary at best. The point of collapsing industrial infrastructure in this scenario is not to harm humans any more than the point of stopping the streetcar is to harm the passengers. The point is to reduce the damage as quickly as possible, and in doing so to account for the harm the dominant culture is doing to all living creatures, past and future.

This is not an easy phase for the abovegrounders. Part of their job in this scenario is also to help demolish infrastructure, but they are mostly demolishing exploitative political and economic infrastructure, not physical infrastructure. In general, they continue to do what they did in the previous phase, but on a larger scale and for the long term. Public support is directed to local, democratic, and just political and economic systems. Efforts are undertaken to deal with emergencies and cope with the nastier parts of collapse.

Objectives:

– Dismantle the critical physical infrastructure required for industrial civilization to function.

– Induce widespread industrial collapse, beyond any economic or political systems.

– Use continuing and coordinated actions to hamper repairs and replacement.

Operations:

– Focus almost exclusively on decisive and sustaining operations.

Organization:

– Requires well-developed militant underground networks.

Continue reading at Implementing Decisive Ecological Warfare.

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Groomed to Consume

[Link]  by Anja Lyngbaek / Local Futures

With Christmas coming up, household consumption will soon hit its yearly peak in many countries. Despite homely pictures of tranquility on mass-produced greeting cards, Christmas is more about frenzied shopping and overspending than peace on earth or quality time with family and friends. As with so much of our lives, the holidays have been hijacked by the idea that satisfaction, even happiness, is only one more purchase away.

Two generations ago, my Norwegian grandmother was overjoyed as a child when she received one modest gift and tasted an imported orange at Christmastime. In the modern era of long-distance trade and excess consumption, nobody gets even mildly excited by tasting a foreign fruit or receiving a small gift. Instead, adults dive into a cornucopia of global food (typically followed by a period of dieting) while children expect numerous expensive gifts – with designer clothes and electronic toys, games, and gadgets topping the list.

This comparison is not meant to romanticize the past or demean the present: it’s just a small example of how consumption has come to replace the things that give real meaning to our lives– like creating something with our own hands, or sharing and interacting with others. In the process, we have been robbed of the ability to take pleasure from small wonders.

Most of us are aware that excessive consumption is a prime feature of modern life, and that it is the cause of multiple social and environmental problems. We are living in a so-called “consumer culture” – a rather fancy title for something that has more in common with an abusive affliction, like bulimia or alcoholism, than it does with real living culture.

Rampant consumerism doesn’t happen by itself: it is encouraged by an economic system that requires perpetual economic growth. When national economies show signs of slowing down, citizens are invariably called upon to increase their consumption, which in a country like the US represents 70 percent of GDP. Curiously, when talk turns to the downside of consumerism – resource depletion, pollution, or shoppers trampled at Wal-Mart – it is the greed supposedly inherent in human nature that gets the blame. Rather than look at the role of corporate media, advertising, and other systemic causes of overconsumption, we are encouraged to keep shopping – but to do so “responsibly”, perhaps by engaging in “green consumerism”, a galling oxymoron.

I have no doubt that consumerism is linked with greed – greed for the latest model of computer, smartphone, clothes or car – but this has nothing to do with human nature. This sort of greed is an artificially induced condition. From early childhood our eyes, ears and minds have been flooded with images and messages that undermine our identity and self-esteem, create false needs, and teach us to seek satisfaction and approval through the consumer choices we make.

And the pressure to consume is rising, along with the amount of money spent on advertising. It is forecast that global advertising expenditure will hit $568 billion for 2018, a 7.4 percent increase over 2017.[1] According to UN figures, that amount of money would be sufficient to both eradicate extreme poverty and foot the bill for measures to mitigate the effects of climate change worldwide. [2]

Instead, we are “groomed to consume”. In the US, this means that the average young person is exposed to more than 3,000 ads per day on television, the internet, billboards and in magazines, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.[3] While the figure may be lower in other countries, people everywhere are increasingly exposed to advertising – particularly through the internet, which now has over 4 billion users globally.[4] In fact, half of the global “consumer-class” can now be found in the developing world. Although per capita consumption in China and India remains substantially less than in Europe, those two countries now consume more in total than all of Western Europe.[5]

Marketing strategies – advertising, celebrity trend-setting, product placement in movies and TV shows, marketing tie-ins between media and fast food franchises, etc. – have evolved to target an ever younger audience, all the way down to the one-year old, according to sociologist Juliet Schor. In her book Born to Buy, she defines “age compression” as the marketing to children of products that were previously designed for adults.[6] Examples include makeup for young girls, violent toys for small boys, and designer clothes for the first grader. Schor’s research shows that the more children are exposed to media and advertising, the more consumerist they become; it also shows that they are more likely to become depressed, anxious and develop low self-esteem in the process.

However, children can become victims of the corporate-induced consumer culture even without direct exposure to advertising and media, as I learned during a year spent in my native Denmark, together with my then 12-year old son. Prior to our stay in Denmark, we lived in rural Mexico with limited exposure to TV, internet and advertising, and surrounded by children from homes with dirt floors, wearing hand-me-down clothes. The need for designer wear and electronic gadgets had therefore never entered my son’s mind.

However, after a few months of trying to fit in with Danish children, he became a victim of fashion, exchanging his usual trousers for the trend of the time – narrow sleek pants with diaper bottoms that impeded proper movement. Soon, style alone wasn’t enough: the right brand name of clothes was added to the list of things required for happiness. The same process was repeated in other parts of life: in Mexico, play would consist of an array of invented games, but a month in Denmark was sufficient for my son to feel too ashamed to invite anyone home because he didn’t own an Xbox. During that year, he cried bitter tears over the absence of things that he had never lacked before – video games, Samsung galaxies, iPads and notebooks.

This rapid conversion of a unique individual into a global consumer wasn’t a direct result of advertising, but of the indirect influence of corporations on our minds and lives. The other children were as much victims as my own child, having to a large extent been robbed of the possibility to develop their own (corporate-free) identity and the imagination and creativity that comes with childhood.

Shifting away from a model based on ever increasing consumption is long overdue. On a personal level, we can take positive steps by disengaging from the consumer culture as much as possible, focusing instead on activities that bring true satisfaction – like face-to-face interaction, engaging in community and spending time in nature.

In our very small rural community in Mexico, we have tried to do just that in our daily lives. Christmas for us is a communal celebration running over several days, which includes lots of homegrown, cooked and baked foods, music, dancing and playing, both indoors and outdoors. A major part of the celebration is a gift exchange that celebrates our skills and creative powers. Rather than buying a multitude of gifts, we make one gift each to give to another person. Who we give to is decided in advance in a secret draw of names, not revealed until the exchange. For a month in advance, our community is buzzing with creative energy, as everybody – children and adults alike – is busy planning and making amazing gifts. Presenting our gift is the highlight of our celebration, even for the youngest. Thus the coin has been flipped from consumption to creation and from receiving to giving.

However, while personal changes like this matter, it is not enough to turn the tide: structural changes are also required.

Despite dwindling natural resources, increasing levels of pollution and CO2 emissions, and the many social costs of consumerism, no nation-state has yet been willing to renounce the economic growth model. This will not change until people pressure their governments to disengage from this economic model and to put the brakes on corporate control. This may sound undoable, but the current system is man-made and can be unmade. The trade treaties and agreements that favor corporations over nations, global over local, profit over people and planet, can be revoked and transformed. All it may take is an alliance of a few strategic countries willing to say “STOP”, to start a movement of nations willing to reclaim their economies.

When Jorge Mario Bergoglio was ordained Pope Francis, he came out with a public critique of the prevailing economic system that still rings true:

“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world… This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”[7]

Yet, the blind belief in the economic growth model is waning, as ever more people realize that the present economic model is playing havoc with people and planet. Even the strongest proponents of the current system are finding it harder to repeat the “more economic growth is the solution” mantra.

So let’s downscale consumption this Christmas and celebrate creativity, community and our shared home – planet earth. Rather than commit to dieting in the new year, let’s commit to joining the call for systemic change – away from a destructive global casino economy that concentrates power and wealth, towards place-based economies operating under democratic control and within ecological limits, with global wellbeing in mind.

[1] McNair, Corey, “Global Ad Spending”, eMarketer.com, May 4, 2018. https://www.emarketer.com/content/global-ad-spending

[2] State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015, in brief, UN http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4671e.pdf; Ritchie, Hannah, “How much will it cost to mitigate climate change?”, Our World in Data, May 27, 2017. https://ourworldindata.org/how-much-will-it-cost-to-mitigate-climate-change

[3] “Children, Adolescents, and Advertising: Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, vol. 118, number 6 http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/6/2563.full

[4] “Usage and Population Statistics”, Internet World Stats, https://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

[5] “The State of Consumption Today”. Worldwatch Institute. http://www.worldwatch.org/node/810

[6] Schor, Juliet B., Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture” (2004).

[7] Goldfarb, Z. and Michelle Boorstein, “Pope Francis denounces ‘trickle-down’ economic theories in critique of inequality”. The Washington Post. November 26, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/pope-francis-denounces-trickle-down-economic-theories-in-critique-of-inequality/2013/11/26/e17ffe4e-56b6-11e3-8304-caf30787c0a9_story.html

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Political Education for the Poor – An Advocacy for a New Political Awareness

[Link] by Stroke

Coming to a political consciousness is not a painless task. To overcome denial means facing the everyday, normative cruelty of a whole society, a society made up of millions of people who are participating in that cruelty, and if not directly, then as bystanders with benefits. A friend of mine who grew up in extreme poverty recalled becoming politicized during her first year in college, a year of anguish over the simple fact that “there were rich people and there were poor people, and there was a relationship between the two.” You may have to face full-on the painful experiences you denied in order to survive, and even the humiliation of your own collusion. But knowledge of oppression starts from the bedrock that subordination is wrong and resistance is possible. The acquired skill of analysis can be psychologically and even spiritually freeing.

– Lierre Keith

Strictly speaking, all of my problems, the whole drama of my life and suffering, can be summarized in one word: poverty.

From birth, it seems to have been my destiny, the element that determines my life the most. I really don’t want to see myself as a victim. But I can no longer accept the widespread opinion (one could also call it dominant ideology) that everyone is responsible for his or her own destiny; that everyone can make it, if he or she only strives and works hard enough. Because this is simply wrong.

I have tried seriously for many years to gain a foothold in the world of work. I am smart, educated, have a well-groomed appearance, and two academic degrees. But it’s not my fault.

My “mistake” was merely to enter the “labour market” shortly after the introduction of Gerhard Schroeder’s Agenda 2010 and the associated Hartz “reforms”.

What the poor need to understand, is that poverty is a political goal, because poverty is a fundamental pillar of capitalism.

Money, at least in theory, is nothing more than a means of exchange. But as it is used in reality, it is an ideological instrument of power with a quasi-religious character which is used with increasing brutality.

As Max Wilbert writes in a recent interview, “The world today is being run by people who believe in money as a god. They’re insane, but they have vast power, and they’re using that power in the real world. That’s the physical manifestation of their violent, corrupt ideology.”

In his book Endgame, the writer Derrick Jensen radically deconstructs the “religion” of money. He writes: “There are no rich people in the world, and there are no poor people. There are just people. The rich may have lots of pieces of green paper that many pretend are worth something—or their presumed riches may be even more abstract: numbers on hard drives at banks—and the poor may not. These “rich” claim they own land, and the “poor” are often denied the right to make that same claim. A primary purpose of the police is to enforce the delusions of those with lots of pieces of green paper. Those without the green papers generally buy into these delusions almost as quickly and completely as those with. These delusions carry with them extreme consequences in the real world.”

Money is power. Poverty is an immaterial prison. And the Hartz-laws, with the contemptuous ideology and systematic agitation (classism) behind them, are an immaterial concentration camp.

Welcome to fascism 2.0, the smart fascism of the 21st century.

First of all: I am aware that the comparison with the concentration camps is sensitive. In no way do I want to trivialize the horror of the physical Nazi concentration camps. Under no circumstances should this comparison be understood as a disregard for the suffering of the victims and their descendants.

I am talking about an immaterial concentration camp to make it clear that this time it is mainly ideological walls in which the inmates are held prisoner.

This ideology, however, has some functional parallels with the real concentration camps. And these practices have been incorporated into a legal framework in German legislation, namely the SGB II, colloquially called Hartz Laws.

Expropriation: Whoever ends up in the immaterial concentration camp HartzIV is systematically expropriated. He/she is forced to sell any “usable property”, including saved retirement provisions. Without Newspeech one could also simply say: They are robbed.

Disenfranchisement: Rights enshrined in the German Basic Law, such as the right to freedom of movement and free choice of occupation, no longer apply. “HartzIV is an open prison system,” says entrepreneur Götz Werner. In fact, HartzIV recipients are subject to the so-called “Accessibility Order”, i.e. they must be reachable at any time by letter post in order to be able to come to the authority the next day and immediately be available for a job offer.

Forced labour: HartzIV recipients must accept any “reasonable work” under threat of sanctions. The journalist Susan Bonath writes about this: “The unemployed, for example, were assigned to do clean-up work or collect garbage in cities, they had to maintain green spaces and monuments or to read aloud in nursing homes. All models had and have one thing in common: those affected work at extremely low wages, from which they alone cannot live. Compulsory work models for outsourced workers are not inventions of modern capitalists. Let us recall the workhouses whose history stretches from the early modern period to the industrial age. The German fascists established the Reich Labour Service. The aim of those in power behind it is clear: they wanted to make the unemployment that was increasingly produced in times of crisis invisible and – more or less brutally – to prevent those affected through employment from thinking about their situation.”

There have been cases where women have been advised by the authorities to prostitute themselves, because – thanks also to Gerhard Schröder – this is now nothing more than a legal job in the service sector.

Demoralization: Recipients are regularly summoned to appointments under threat of sanctions and interrogated like criminals, furthermore demoralized with the apportionment of blame and shame to be “difficult to mediate”. The institutions are operating a perfidious psycho-terror in order to scare their victims (called “customers” in neoliberal Newspeech) and systematically demoralize them. With the words of anti-HartzIV activist Manfred Bartl: “At no point is it really about ‘the human being’, but about either breaking him or her and/or making him or her identify with his ongoing oppression. But where this succeeds, nobody resists against this regime any more, because then everyone believes it: I am obviously to blame myself, I have experienced it often enough in the meantime…hence the problem of mass unemployment are not the unemployed, who only had to be “improved”, as the Hartz IV regime repeatedly circulates, but it’s the increasingly inhuman “labour market” on the one hand and the Social Code II, which literally keeps them out, on the other!

Exclusion, stigmatization and the creation of a new class of people: Indeed, the entire design of the HartzIV ideological concentration camp aims to create a new class of people in Germany who did not previously exist in this way. And it aims to keep the new lower class powerless and dependent. Resistance is suffocated from the outset by a perfidious, sophisticated mixture of ideology, class division through systematic propaganda in the corporate media, the greatest possible economic dependence and the permanent fear of those affected through the threat of sanctions.

Philosopher Byung-Chul Han, who studies the neoliberal psycho politics, comments: “It’s madness how scared the Hartz people live here. They are held in this bannoptikum, (a panopticon is a type of institutional building and a system of control designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. It is a design where a guard can watch all the prisoners from the middle. The term panopticon is nowadays used as a synonym for the global mass surveillance. A bannopticon in this sense is a prison in which the inmates are banned, becoming invisible for the public) so that they do not break out of their fear-cell. I know many Hartzer, they are treated like garbage. In one of the richest countries in the world, Germany, people are treated like scum. Dignity is taken away from them. Of course, these people do not protest because they are ashamed. They blame themselves instead of blaming or accusing society. No political action can be expected from this class.”

With the new class, the institutions created by the Hartz laws administer an army of workers who are supplied at the lowest level and who must be available, mobile, and flexible as possible at all times for any form of work. As such they exert enormous pressure on those who still have regular jobs. The Agenda 2010 was therefore also an effective instrument for wage dumping and the creation of a new, gigantic low-wage sector, for which Gerhard Schröder received great praise from his colleagues from France and other European countries.

The declared aim of the institutions (Newspeech Jobcenter) is to provide the unemployed with jobs that secure their livelihood, i.e. to get them out of unemployment (and thus out of unemployment statistics) as quickly as possible. However, this goal is nothing more that another of the usual neoliberal lies. In reality, very few people manage to escape from dependence. The authorities thus also administer a large part of the working poor, who work, but whose wages are below the HartzIV level. They fall out of the official statistics, but remain dependent and under the full control of the authorities with all the measures mentioned above.

The propaganda often proves to be a self-fulfilling prophecy for the new class in a familiar way: derided as lazy alcoholics, many actually end up as apathetic alcoholics in order to endure their hopeless existence.

This is indeed a contemptuous treatment of a class of people who are no longer worth anything in our culture. They are superfluous, rubbish, rejects, waste. We‘ve seen this before.

It’s therefore not surprising that HartzIV recipients have a significantly increased stress level. Physicians know that chronic stress is one of the most common causes of life-threatening cardiovascular disease and strokes. Those who die of stress and anxiety or end up in the medical-industrial complex are excluded from unemployment statistics. This is how concentration camps work today.

But in smart fascism 2.0, violence is ideologically much better packaged and gets along without its direct physical forms, because direct, physical violence always generates resistance, which the system must suppress or avoid.

The modern ruling class no longer needs to get their hands dirty. Instead, they use what Rainer Mausfeld calls “Soft Power”:

“The most important goal is to neutralize the will of the population to change society, or to divert attention to politically irrelevant goals. In order to achieve this in the most robust and consistent way possible, manipulation techniques aim at much more than just political opinions. They aim at a targeted shaping of all aspects that affect our political, social and cultural life, as well as our individual ways of life. To a certain extent, they aim to create a ‘new human being’ whose social life merges into the role of the politically apathetic consumer. In this sense they are totalitarian, so that the great democracy-theorist Sheldon Wolin rightly speaks of an ‘inverted totalitarianism’, a new form of totalitarianism that is not perceived by the population as totalitarianism.”

One cannot understand our society, or rather what is left of it, without realizing that it consists of social groups or classes. Capitalist/neoliberal ideology says that there are no classes or groups, not even society.

“Who is society? There is no such thing!” said the Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher. Within neoliberal ideology, there are only individuals who (must) assert their own interests on the market. Meanwhile, the ideology, as promoted by Thatcher, has indeed managed to completely atomize what was left of society and to transform it into an aggregate of totally isolated and alienated individuals who compete with each other on the labor market and passionately exploit themselves, while those below languish inside the immaterial prison poverty, or the Hartz-concentration camp.

The ideology is deeply hammered into our heads. We have been taught to feel so much shame about our failure that we do not resist. Instead, we submit to these modern forms of slavery and forced labor. The systematic hatred between classes makes it so that the intellectuals and the middle class, who would have the moral duty to show solidarity with the lower classes and to reject such systematic oppression, are, unfortunately, mostly followers and accept the modern concentration camps, just as the good Germans already did in the past. They could have (must have!) got up, back then as well as now, and said: We are not going with that!

Many people (at least in Germany) still tend to regard the legal system and executive authorities as something positive, as institutions created to serve and help the population. In the meantime, neoliberal Newspeak prevails here as well. Laws and authorities are increasingly created and used as instruments of exploitation and oppression.

“Law organizes power”, as lawyer Catherine McKinnon puts it.

The social reality of the lower classes, of those imprisoned in poverty or HartzIV cannot (and shall not) be understood by the upper classes, the well-earning doctors, lawyers, judges and so on, and the middle class, which, indoctrinated by the neoliberal ideology, passionately exploits itself. Therefore, these classes are easily accessible to the agitation and classism practiced by those in power. Just as there was little resistance in the population against the concentration camps at that time, there is little resistance today against the mass impoverishment, oppression and systematic exploitation of large sections of the population with the Hartz laws.

As Susan Bonath writes, “the Macron government in France is also planning massive social cuts. And it wants to spy on the unemployed in a similar way to Germany. Therefore, the Paris Ministry of Labour recently announced, the administrative staff would be increased. Instead of 200, 1,000 inspectors will in future be released onto the unemployed. The goal of the agenda of those in power here and there is clear: employees will be muzzled. They should stay still for fear of relegation. The servitude of the 21st century sends its greetings.”

Before the Macron government could push its “reforms” as far as the Schröder government did in Germany, masses of poor people are already taking to the streets in France and other countries. The yellow warning vests they wear are a powerful symbol of a united resistance of the poor and economically detached.

If you currently walk around Heidelberg, where I live, a rich and rather elitist university town, with a yellow vest, people look at you like a criminal. “Working class”, their looks say, “underclass”, “dirt”.

Before putting on the vest I had unfortunately forgotten that (even symbolic) resistance, which is merely a struggle for our basic rights and livelihoods, is prohibited in the highly conformist German society, which is effectively policing itself by social norms. “Inverted totalitarianism” indeed.

The usual self-righteous, dismissive commentaries of the bourgeoisie on the violence of the insurgents are blind to the inherent forms of systematic economic and structural violence deeply rooted in our social system, against which the poor and economically detached with the yellow vests resist. They do not want to see that our society “is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.”

I just heard from an activist who got a visit from the Criminal Investigation Department because she had a yellow vest hanging from her balcony. She was told by the police that it is “not okay for someone to show one’s political opinion like that”.

Welcome to Fascism 2.0.

It is time for a global uprising of the poor. Our common goal must be to deprive the rich of their ability to steal from the poor and the powerful of their ability to destroy the planet.

Stand up.

1 Aric McBay, Lierre Keith and Derrick Jensen (2011): Deep Green Resistance: Stategy to Save the Planet S. 73

2 I‘d describe the German HartzIV-laws to the English-speaking public merely as a kind of poverty management. To quote Wikipedia: „The unemployment benefit II (colloquially mostly Hartz IV) is the basic security benefit for employable beneficiaries in Germany according to the Second Book of the Social Code (SGB II)…However, it can be shortened or completely deleted by permissible sanctions; the subsistence minimum is not paid unconditionally.“

3 Derrick Jensen (2006) Endgame Vol 1: The Problem of Civilization p. XI

4 https://www.rubikon.news/artikel/der-andere-krieg (translated from German) 

5 “The prostitution law now in force came into being under the red-green government of Gerhard Schröder (SPD) and has been in force since January 2002. It is considered to be one of the most liberal in the world – which earned him the accusation of having made Germany the “brothel of Europe”. Since 2002, sex work has no longer been regarded as “immoral”, but as a service. Prostitutes have the opportunity to register for health insurance, pension and unemployment insurance. Two years earlier, Sweden had banned prostitution; since then, customers of sex work are criminalized.”

https://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/prostitutionsgesetz-guetesiegel-fuer-bordelle/10334474.htmlie (translated from German)

6 https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=25168 (translated from German)

7 Interview Zeit Online: https://www.zeit.de/zeit-wissen/2014/05/byung-chul-han-philosophie-neoliberalismus (translated from German)

8 Rainer Mausfeld (2018): Warum schweigen die Lämmer? p. 17f (translated from German)

9 https://www.rubikon.news/artikel/der-andere-krieg (translated from German)

10 Derrick Jensen (2006) Endgame Vol 1: The Problem of Civilization p. IX

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Contact Deep Green Resistance News Service

[Link] To repost DGR original writings or talk with us about anything else, you can contact the Deep Green Resistance News Service by email, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

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Please contact us with news, articles, or pieces that you have written. If we decide to post your submission, it may be posted here, or on the Deep Green Resistance Blog.

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Further news and recommended reading / podcasts

Resistance Radio w/ Nathan Varley – January 6, 2019

Resistance Radio w/ Renee Gerlich – December 16, 2018

Resistance Radio w/ Jonathan Latham – December 23, 2018

Resistance Radio w/ Meghan Murphy – December 30, 2018

U.S. Navy Land Grab for Bombing in Nevada

Cliff Mass Isn’t a Climate Denier—But Deniers Sure Love Him

The Legacy of ‘Oka’ and the Future of Indigenous Resistance

Old Mother Forest

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How to support DGR or get involved

Guide to taking action

Bring DGR to your community to provide training

Become a member

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As long as the enemy is not defeated, I have to apprehend that he may defeat me, then I shall be no longer my own master, but he will dictate the law to me as I did to him. This is the second reciprocal action and leads to a second extreme (second reciprocal action).

–      Carl von Clausewitz

 

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to those who will find it valuable. Permission is also granted to reprint this newsletter, but it must be reprinted in whole.

Resistance Newsletter — December 2018

by Max Wilbert

Deep Green Resistance

max@maxwilbert.org

https://www.deepgreenresistance.org

Current atmospheric CO2 level: 408.02 PPM

A free monthly newsletter providing analysis and commentary on ecology, global capitalism, empire, and revolution.

For back issues, to read this issue online, or to subscribe via email or RSS, visit the Resistance News web page.

These essays also appear on the DGR News Service, which also includes an active comment section.

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In this issue:

  1. A New Declaration
  2. Indigenous Solidarity Guidelines
  3. 73 Rules of Spycraft
  4. Blue Angels: The Naked Face of Empire
  5. Activist Guide to Security: Defeating Geolocation and Tracking
  6. DGR France Organizing Update
  7. Amnesia & Lack of Accountability Reign as Wall Street Celebrates Halliburton’s 100-year anniversary
  8. Underground Tactics
  9. Target Selection
  10. Twitter wants me to shut up and the right wants me to join them; I don’t think I should have to do either
  11. Film Review: “First Reformed” Fails to Deliver on Environmental Themes
  12. Guide to Private and Secure Operating Systems
  13. Submit your material to the Deep Green Resistance News Service
  14. Further news and recommended reading / podcasts
  15. How to support DGR or get involved

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War and civilization are intertwined. War is not simply an unfortunate byproduct. It’s the driving force in the development of civilization.

–      Peter Turchin, Director of the Seshat Global History Databank

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A New Declaration

[Link] by Derrick Jensen

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

That the real world is the source of our own lives, and the lives of others. A weakened planet is less capable of supporting life, human or otherwise. Thus the health of the real world is primary, more important than any social or economic system, because all social or economic systems are dependent upon a living planet: without a living planet you don’t have any social or economic systems whatsoever. It is self-evident that to value a social system that harms the planet’s capacity to support life over life itself is literally insane, in terms of being out of touch with physical reality.

That any way of life based on the use of nonrenewable resources is by definition not sustainable.

That any way of life based on the hyperexploitation of renewable resources is by definition not sustainable: if, for example, there are fewer salmon return every year, eventually there will be none. This means that for a way of life to be sustainable, it must not harm native communities: native prairies, native forests, native fisheries, and so on.

That the real world is interdependent, such that harm done to rivers harms those humans and nonhumans whose lives depend on these rivers, harms forests and prairies and wetlands surrounding these rivers, harms the oceans into which these rivers flow. Harm done to mountains harms rivers flowing through them. Harm done to oceans harms everyone directly or indirectly connected to them.

That you cannot argue with physics. If you burn carbon-based fuels, this carbon will go into the air, and have effects in the real world.

That creating and releasing poisons into the world will poison humans and nonhumans.

That no one, no matter now rich or powerful, should be allowed to create poisons for which there is no antidote.

That no one, no matter how rich or powerful, should be allowed to create messes that cannot be cleaned up.

That no one, no matter how rich or powerful, should be allowed to destroy places humans or nonhumans need to survive.

That no one, no matter how rich or powerful, should be allowed to drive human cultures or nonhuman species extinct.

That reality trumps all belief systems: what you believe is not nearly so important as what is real.

That on a finite planet you cannot have an economy based on or requiring growth. At least you cannot have one and expect to either have a planet or a future.

That the current way of life is not sustainable, and will collapse. The only real questions are what will be left of the world after that collapse, and how bad things will be for the humans and nonhumans who come after. We hold it as self-evident that we should do all that we can to make sure that as much of the real, physical world remains intact until the collapse of the current system, and that humans and nonhumans should be as prepared as possible for this collapse.

That the health of local economies are more important than the health of a global economy.

That a global economy should not be allowed to harm local economies or landbases.

That corporations are not living beings. They are certainly not human beings.

That corporations do not in any real sense exist. They are legal fictions. Limited liability corporations are institutions created explicitly to separate humans from the effects of their actions—making them, by definition, inhuman and inhumane. To the degree that we desire to live in a human and humane world—and, really, to the degree that we wish to survive—limited liability corporations need to be eliminated.

That the health of human and nonhuman communities are more important than the profits of corporations.

We hold it as self-evident, as the Declaration of Independence states, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness], it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it. . . .” Further, we hold it as self-evident that it would be more precise to say that it is not the Right of the People, nor even their responsibility, but instead something more like breathing—something that if we fail to do we die. If we as a People fail to rid our communities of destructive institutions, those institutions will destroy our communities. And if we in our communities cannot provide meaningful and nondestructive ways for people to gain food, clothing, and shelter then we must recognize it’s not just specific destructive institutions but the entire economic system that is pushing the natural world past breaking points. Capitalism is killing the planet. Industrial civilization is killing the planet. Once we’ve recognized the destructiveness of capitalism and industrial civilization—both of which are based on systematically converting a living planet into dead commodities—we’ve no choice, unless we wish to sign our own and our children’s death warrants, but to fight for all we’re worth and in every way we can to overturn it.

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Here is a list of our initial demands. When these demands are met, we will have more, and then more, until we are living sustainably in a just society. In each case, if these demands are not met, we will, because we do not wish to sign our own and our children’s death warrants, put them in place ourselves.

We demand that:

 

Communities, including nonhuman communities, be immediately granted full legal and moral rights.

Corporations be immediately stripped of their personhood, no longer be considered as persons under the law.

Limited liability corporations be immediately stripped of their limited liability protection. If someone wants to perpetrate some action for which there is great risk to others, this person should be prepared to assume this risk him- or herself.

Those whose economic activities cause great harm—including great harm to the real, physical world—be punished commensurate with their harm. So long as prisons and the death penalty exist, Tony Hayward of BP and Don Blankenship of Massey Coal, to provide two examples among many, should face the death penalty or life in prison without parole for murder, both of human beings and of landbases. The same can be said for many others, including those associated with these specific murders and thefts, and including those associated with many other murders and thefts.

Environmental Crimes Tribunals be immediately put in place to try those who have significantly harmed the real, physical world. These tribunals will have force of law and will impose punishment commensurate with the harm caused to the public and to the real world.

The United States immediately withdraw from NAFTA, DR-CAFTA, and other so-called “free trade agreements” (if it really is “free trade,” then why do they need the military and police to enforce it?) as these cause immeasurable and irreparable harm to local economies in the United States and abroad, and to the real, physical world. They cause grievous harm to working people in the United States and elsewhere. Committees should be formed to determine whether to try those who signed on to NAFTA for subverting United States sovereignty, and for Crimes Against Humanity for the deaths caused by these so-called free trade agreements.

The United States remove all support for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Both of these organizations cause immeasurable and irreparable harm to local economies in the United States and abroad, and to the real, physical world. They cause grievous harm to working people in the United States and elsewhere.

The United States recognize that it is founded on land stolen from indigenous peoples. We demand a four stage process to rectify this ongoing atrocity. The first stage consists of immediately overturning the relevant parts of the 1823 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Johnson v. M’Intosh, which includes such rationalizations for murder and theft as, “However extravagant the pretension of converting the discovery of an inhabited country into conquest may appear; if the principle has been asserted in the first instance, and afterwards sustained; if a country has been acquired and held under it; if the property of the great mass of the community originates in it, it becomes the law of the land, and cannot be questioned.” We demand that this pretense, this principle, not only be questioned but rejected. The second is that all lands for which the United States government cannot establish legal title through treaty must immediately be returned to those peoples from whom it was stolen. Large scale landowners, those with over 640 acres, must immediately return all lands over 640 acres to their original and rightful inhabitants. Small scale landowners, those with title to 640 acres or less, who are “innocent purchasers” may retain title to their land (and this same is true for the primary 640 acres of larger landowners), but may not convey this title to others, and on their deaths it passes back to the original and rightful inhabitants. The third phase is for the United States government to pay reparations to those whose land they have taken commensurate with the harm they have caused. The fourth phase is for each and every treaty between the United States government and sovereign indigenous nations to be revisited, with an eye toward determining whether the treaties were signed under physical, emotional, economic, or military duress and whether these treaties have been violated. In either of these cases the wrongs must be redressed, once again commensurate with the harm these wrongs have caused.

The United States government will provide reparations to those whose families have been harmed by chattel slavery, commensurate with the harm caused.

Rivers be restored. There are more than 2 million dams in the United States, more than 60,000 dams over thirteen feet tall and over 70,000 dams over six and a half feet tall. Dams kill rivers. If we removed one of these 70,000 dams each day, it would take 200 years to get rid of them all. Salmon don’t have that time. Sturgeon don’t have that time. We demand that no more dams be built, and we demand the removal of five of those 70,000 dams per day over the next forty years, beginning one year from today. Remember, physical reality is more important than your belief system.

Native prairies, wetlands, and forests be restored, at a rate of five percent per year. Please note that tree farms or “forests” managed for timber are not the same as native forests, any more than lawns or corn fields are prairies, and any more than concrete sluices are wetlands. Please note also that if all of the prairies and forests east of the Mississippi River were restored, the United States could be a net carbon sink within five years, even without reducing carbon emissions.

An immediate end to clearcutting, “leave tree,” “seed tree,” “shelter tree” and all other “even age management” techniques, no matter what they are called, and no matter what rationales are put forward by the timber industry and the government. All remaining native forests are immediately and completely protected.

An immediate end to destruction of prairies and wetlands. All remaining prairies and wetlands are immediately protected.

The United States government immediately begin strict enforcement of the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and other acts aimed at protecting the real, physical world. All programs associated with these Acts must be fully funded. This includes the immediate designation of Critical Habitat for all species on the wait list.

Each year the United States must survey all endangered species to ascertain if they are increasing in number and range. If not, the United States government will do what is required to make sure they do.

The United States government do whatever is necessary to make sure that there are fewer toxins in every mother’s breast milk every year than the year before, and that there are fewer carcinogens in every stream every year than the year before.

The United States government do whatever is necessary to make sure that there are more migratory songbirds every year than the year before, that there are more native fish every year than the year before, more native reptiles and amphibians, and so on.

Immediate closure of all US military bases on foreign soil. All US military personnel are to be immediately brought home.

An immediate ban on the direct or indirect use of mercenaries (“military contractors”) by the US government and all associated entities.

A reduction in the US military budget by 20 per year, until it reaches 20 percent of its current size. Then it will be maintained at no larger than that except in case of a war that is declared only by a direct vote of more than 50 percent of US citizens (and to last only as long as 50 percent of US citizens back it). This will provide the “peace dividend” politicians lyingly promised us back when the Soviet Union collapsed, and will balance the US budget and more than pay for all necessary domestic programs.

The United States officially recognize that capitalism is based on subsidies, or as Dwayne Andreas, former CEO of ADM said, “There isn’t one grain of anything in the world that is sold in a free market. Not one! The only place you see a free market is in the speeches of politicians.” He’s right. For example, commercial fishing fleets worldwide receive more in subsidies than the entire value of their catch. Timber corporations, oil corporations, banks, would all collapse immediately without massive government subsidies and bailouts. Therefore, we demand that the United States government stop subsidizing environmentally and socially destructive activities, and shift those same subsidies into activities that restore the real, physical, world and that promote local self-sufficiency and vibrant local economies. Instead of subsidizing deforestation, subsidize reforestation. Instead of subsidizing the oil industry, subsidize relocalization. Instead of subsidizing fisheries depletion, subsidize fisheries restoration. Instead of subsidizing plastics production, subsidize cleaning plastics from the ocean. Instead of subsidizing the production of toxics by the chemical industries, subsidize the cleaning up of these toxics, both from our bodies and from the rest of the real, physical world.

Scientific consensus is that to prevent even more catastrophic climate change than we and the rest of the world already face, net carbon emissions must be reduced by 80 percent. Because we wish to continue to live on a habitable planet, we demand a carbon reduction of 20 percent of current emissions per year over the next four years.

The enshrinement in law of the right for workers to collectively bargain. In case of strikes, if police are brought in at all, it must be to protect the right of workers to strike. If police force anyone to come to terms, they must force the capitalists.

That laws against rape be enforced, even against those who are rich, even those who are famous athletes, even those who are politicians, even those who are entertainers.

The enshrinement in law of the precautionary principle, which states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or the real, physical world, then the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action. In the absence of conclusive proof, no action may be taken. For example, no chemicals would be allowed to be released into the environment without conclusive proof that they will not harm the public or the environment.

No new chemicals be released into the real, physical world until all currently used chemicals have been thoroughly tested for toxicity, and if found to have any significant chance of harming the public or the environment, these chemicals must be immediately and without exception withdrawn from use.

The immediate, explicit, and legally binding recognition that perpetual growth is incompatible with life on a finite planet. We demand that economic growth stop, and that economies begin to contract. We demand immediate acknowledgement that if we do not begin this contraction voluntarily, that this contraction will take place against our will, and will cause untold misery.

That overconsumption and overpopulation must be addressed in methods that are not racist, colonialist, or misogynist. We must recognize that humans, and especially industrial humans, have overshot the planet’s carrying capacity. We must recognize further that while overconsumption is more harmful than overpopulation, both are harmful. We must further recognize that right now, more than fifty percent of the children who are born are not wanted. We demand that all children be wanted. We recognize that the single most effective strategy for making certain that all children are wanted is the liberation of women. Therefore we demand that women be given absolute reproductive freedom, and that all forms of reproductive control be freely available to women. We demand that those who attempt to deny women this freedom be punished by law.

The United States government put an immediate end to absentee land ownership. No one shall be allowed to own land more than one-quarter of a mile from his or her home.

Land ownership patterns change. Land ownership is more concentrated in the United States than in many countries the United States derides as antidemocratic: five percent of farmers in Honduras own 67 percent of the arable land, while in the United States five percent of landowners (not citizens) own 75 percent of the land (California is in many ways worse: twenty-five landowners own 58 percent of the farmland). To rectify this, no one shall be allowed to own more than 640 acres. All title to individual or corporate land holdings over 640 acres are to be immediately forfeited. These lands will be first in line for restoration to native forest, prairie, wetland, and so on. Lands not suitable for these purposes will be used to provide housing for those who cannot afford it.

An immediate end to factory farming and to monocrop agriculture, two of the most destructive activities humans have ever perpetrated. We demand a return to perennial polycultures.

An immediate end to soil drawdown. Because soil is the basis of terrestrial life, no activities will be allowed which destroy topsoil. All properties over sixty acres must have soil surveys every ten years (on every sixty acre parcel), and if they have suffered any decrease of health or depth of topsoil the lands will be confiscated and given to those who will build up soil.

An immediate end to aquifer drawdown. No activities will be allowed which draw down aquifers.

Provision of free food, shelter, and medical necessities to all residents.

Immediate increase in the tax rate to 95 percent for all gross earnings over one million dollars per year by persons or entities.

An immediate and permanent halt to all fracking, mountaintop removal, tar sands extraction, nuclear power, and offshore drilling.

An immediate and permanent halt to all energy production that is harmful to the real, physical world. This includes the manufacture of solar photovoltaics, windmills, hybrid cars, and so on.

Removal of plastic from the ocean. Each year the ocean must have 5 percent less plastic in it than the year before.

Each year the oceans must have 5 percent more large fish than the year before.

The United States Constitution be rewritten to destroy the primacy it gives to the privatization of profits and the externalization of costs by the wealthy, and to make its primary purpose not the preservation of the wealth and power of the already wealthy and powerful, but rather to protect human and nonhuman communities—to protect the real, physical world—and enforcably to deprive the rich of their ability to steal from the poor and the powerful of their ability to destroy the planet.

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We hold these further truths also to be self-evident:

That demands without means to enforce them are nothing more than begging. We are not begging. We are demanding.

Power is not a mistake, and those in power will not suddenly have attacks of conscience. Social change has never occurred through waiting for the rich or powerful to develop consciences, and it never will.

Those in power will not act different than they have acted all along, and they will not act against the power of capital. We hold it as self-evident that the rich and powerful have no reason to stop the rich from stealing from the poor nor the powerful from destroying more of the real, physical world than they already have. That is, they have no reason except us. Our lives and the life of the planet that is our only home is on the line. We no longer have the luxury of allowing those in power to continue. If those in power won’t accede to these demands, then they need to not be in power, and we need to remove them from power, using any means necessary.

We hold it as self-evident, as the Declaration of Independence states, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness], it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it. . . .”

It is long past time we asserted our rights.

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 Deep Green Resistance Indigenous Solidarity Guidelines

[Link] It’s important that members of settler culture ally themselves with indigenous communities fighting for their rights and survival, but there are right and wrong ways to express solidarity. The following guidelines have been put together by Deep Green Resistance members with the help of indigenous activists. They aren’t a complete how-to guide – every community and every situation is different – but they can hopefully point you in a good direction for acting effectively and with respect.

  1. First and foremost we must recognize that non-indigenous people are occupying stolen land in an ongoing genocide that has lasted for centuries. We must affirm our responsibility to stand with indigenous communities who want support and give everything we can to protect their land and culture from further devastation; they have been on the frontlines of biocide and genocide for centuries, and as allies, we need to step up and join them.
  2. You are doing Indigenous solidarity work not out of guilt, but out of a fierce desire to confront oppressive colonial systems of power.
  3. You are not helping Indigenous people, you are there to: join with, struggle with, and fight with indigenous peoples against these systems of power. You must be willing to put your body on the line.
  4. Recognize your privilege as a member of settler culture.
  5. You are not here to engage in any type of cultural, spiritual or religious needs you think you might have, you are here to engage in political action. Also, remember your political message is secondary to the cause at hand.
  6. Never use drugs or alcohol when engaging in Indigenous solidarity work. Never.
  7. Do more listening than talking, you will be surprised what you can learn.
  8. Recognize that there will be Indigenous people that will not want you to participate in ceremonies. Humbly refrain from participating in ceremonies.
  9. Recognize that you and your Indigenous allies may be in the minority on a cause that is worth fighting for.
  10. Work with integrity and respect, be trustworthy and do what you say you are going to do.

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73 Rules of Spycraft

[Link] American diplomat and lawyer Allen Dulles (1893-1969), the 5th Director of Central Intelligence and once head of the CIA listed 73 Rules of Spycraft.

The greatest weapon a man or woman can bring to this type of work in which we are engaged is his or her hard common sense. The following notes aim at being a little common sense and applied form. Simple common sense crystallized by a certain amount of experience into a number of rules and suggestions.

  1. There are many virtues to be striven after in the job. The greatest of them all is security. All else must be subordinated to that.
  2. Security consists not only in avoiding big risks. It consists in carrying out daily tasks with painstaking remembrance of the tiny things that security demands. The little things are in many ways more important than the big ones. It is they which oftenest give the game away. It is consistent care in them, which form the habit and characteristic of security mindedness.
  3. In any case, the man or woman who does not indulge in the daily security routine, boring and useless though it may sometimes appear, will be found lacking in the proper instinctive reaction when dealing with the bigger stuff.
  4. No matter how brilliantly given an individual, no matter how great his goodwill, if he is lacking in security, he will eventually prove more of a liability than asset.
  5. Even though you feel the curious outsider has probably a good idea that you are not what you purport to be, never admit it. Keep on playing the other part. It’s amazing how often people will be led to think they were mistaken. Or at least that you are out ‘in the other stuff’ only in a very mild way. And anyhow, a person is quite free to think what he likes. The important thing is that neither by admission or implication do you let him know.
  6. Security, of course, does not mean stagnation or being afraid to go after things. It means going after things, but reducing all the risks to a minimum by hard work.
  7. Do not overwork your cover to the detriment of your jobs; we must never get so engrossed in the latter as to forget the former.
  8. Never leave things lying about unattended or lay them down where you are liable to forget them. Learn to write lightly; the “blank” page underneath has often been read. Be wary of your piece of blotting paper. If you have to destroy a document, do so thoroughly. Carry as little written matter as possible, and for the shortest possible time. Never carry names or addresses en clair. If you cannot carry them for the time being in your head, put them in a species of personal code, which only you understand. Small papers and envelopes or cards and photographs, ought to be clipped on to the latter, otherwise they are liable to get lost. But when you have conducted an interview or made arrangements for a meeting, write it all down and put it safely away for reference. Your memory can play tricks.
  9. The greatest vice in the game is that of carelessness. Mistakes made generally cannot be rectified.
  10. The next greatest vice is that of vanity. Its offshoots are multiple and malignant. Besides, the man with a swelled head never learns. And there is always a great deal to be learned.
  11. Booze is naturally dangerous. So also is an undisciplined attraction for the other sex. The first loosens the tongue. The second does likewise. It also distorts vision and promotes indolence. They both provide grand weapons to an enemy.
  12. It has been proved time and again, in particular, that sex and business do not mix.
  13. In this job, there are no hours. That is to say, one never leaves it down. It is lived. One never drops one’s guard. All locations are good for laying a false trail (social occasions, for instance, a casual hint here, a phrase there). All locations are good for picking something up, or collecting…for making a useful acquaintance.
  14. In a more normal sense of the term “no hours,” it is certainly not a business where people put their own private arrangements before their work.
  15. That is not to say that one does not take recreation and holidays. Without them it is not possible to do a decent job. If there is a real goodwill and enthusiasm for the work, the two (except in abnormal circumstances) will always be combined without the work having to suffer.
  16. The greatest material curse to the profession, despite all its advantages, is undoubtedly the telephone. It is a constant source of temptation to slackness. And even if you do not use it carelessly yourself, the other fellow, very often will, so in any case, warn him. Always act on the principle that every conversation is listened to, that a call may always give the enemy a line. Naturally, always unplug during confidential conversations. Even better is it to have no phone in your room, or else have it in a box or cupboard.
  17. Sometimes, for quite exceptional reasons, it may be permissible to use open post as a channel of communications. Without these quite exceptional reasons, allowing of no alternative, it is to be completely avoided.
  18. When the post is used, it will be advisable to get through post boxes; that is to say, people who will receive mail for you and pass it on. This ought to be their only function. They should not be part of the show. They will have to be chosen for the personal friendship which they have with you or with one of your agents. The explanation you give them will depend on circumstances; the letters, of course, must be apparently innocent incontinence. A phrase, signature or embodied code will give the message. The letter ought to be concocted in such fashion as to fit in with the recipient’s social background. The writer ought therefore to be given details of the post boxes assigned to them. An insipid letter is in itself suspicious. If however, a signature or phrase is sufficient to convey the message, then a card with greetings will do.
  19. Make a day’s journey, rather than take a risk, either by phone or post. If you do not have a prearranged message to give by phone, never dial your number before having thought about your conversation. Do not improvise even the dummy part of it. But do not be too elaborate. The great rule here, as in all else connected with the job, is to be natural.
  20. If you have phoned a line or a prospective line of yours from a public box and have to look up the number, do not leave the book lying open on that page.
  21. When you choose a safe house to use for meetings or as a depot, let it be safe. If you can, avoid one that is overlooked by other houses. If it is, the main entrance should be that used for other houses as well. Make sure there are no suspicious servants. Especially, of course, be sure of the occupants. Again, these should be chosen for reasons of personal friendship with some member of the organization and should be discreet. The story told to them will once again depend on circumstances. They should have no other place in the show, or if this is unavoidable, then calls at the house should be made as far as possible after dark.
  22. Always be yourself. Always be natural inside the setting you have cast for yourself. This is especially important when meeting people for the first time or when traveling on a job or when in restaurants or public places in the course of one. In trains or restaurants people have ample time to study those nearest them. The calm quiet person attracts little attention. Never strain after an effect. You would not do so in ordinary life. Look upon your job as perfectly normal and natural.
  23. When involved in business, look at other people as little as possible, and don’t dawdle. You will then have a good chance of passing unnoticed. Looks draw looks.
  24. Do not dress in a fashion calculated to strike the eye or to single you out easily.
  25. Do not stand around. And as well as being punctual yourself, see that those with whom you are dealing are punctual. Especially if the meeting is in a public place; a man waiting around will draw attention. But even if it is not in a public place, try to arrive and make others arrive on the dot. An arrival before the time causes as much inconvenience as one after time.
  26. If you have a rendezvous, first make sure you are not followed. Tell the other person to do likewise. But do not act in any exaggerated fashion. Do not take a taxi to a house address connected with your work. If it cannot be avoided, make sure you are not under observation when you get into it. Or give another address, such as that of a café or restaurant nearby.
  27. Try to avoid journeys to places where you will be noticeable. If you have to make such journeys, repeat them as little as possible, and take all means to make yourself fit in quietly with the background.
  28. Make as many of your difficult appointments as you can after dark. Turn the blackout to good use. If you cannot make it after dark, make it very early morning when people are only half awake and not on the lookout for strange goings-on.
  29. Avoid restaurants, cafes and bars for meetings and conversations. Above all never make an initial contact in one of them. Let it be outside. Use abundance of detail and description of persons to be met, and have one or two good distinguishing marks. Have a password that can be given to the wrong person without unduly exciting infestation.
  30. If interviews cannot be conducted in a safe house, then take a walk together in the country. Cemeteries, museums and churches are useful places to bear in mind.
  31. Use your own judgment as to whether or not you ought to talk to chance travel or table companions. It may be useful. It may be the opposite. It may be of no consequence whatsoever. Think, however, before you enter upon a real conversation, whether this particular enlargement of the number of those who will recognize and spot you in the future is liable or not to be a disadvantage. Always carry reading matter. Not only will it save you from being bored, it is protective armor if you want to avoid a conversation or to break off an embarrassing one.
  32. Always be polite to people, but not exaggeratedly so. With the following class of persons who come to know you — hotel and restaurant staffs, taxi drivers, train personnel etc., be pleasant.
  33. Someday, they may prove useful to you. Be generous in your tips to them, but again, not exaggeratedly so. Give just a little more than the other fellow does – unless the cover under which you are working does not permit this. Give only normal tips. however, to waiters and taxi drivers, etc., when you are on the job. Don’t give them any stimulus, even of gratification, to make you stick in their minds. Be as brief and casual as possible.
  34. Easiness and confidence do not come readily to all of us. They must be assiduously cultivated. Not only because they help us personally, but they also help to produce similar reactions in those we are handling.
  35. Never deal out the intense, the dramatic stuff, to a person before you have quietly obtained his confidence in your levelheadedness.
  36. If you’re angling for a man, lead him around to where you want him; put the obvious idea in his head, and make the suggestion of possibilities come to him. Express, if necessary – but with great tact — a wistful disbelief in the possibilities at which you are aiming. “How fine it would be if only someone could… but of course, etc. etc.” And always leave a line of retreat open to yourself.
  37. Never take a person for granted. Very seldom judge a person to be above suspicion. Remember that we live by deceiving others. Others live by deceiving us. Unless others take persons for granted or believe in them, we would never get our results. The others have people as clever as we; if they can be taken in, so can we. Therefore, be suspicious.
  38. Above all, don’t deceive yourself. Don’t decide that the other person is fit or is all right, because you yourself would like it to be that way. You are dealing in people’s lives.
  39. When you have made a contact, till you are absolutely sure of your man — and perhaps even then — be a small but eager intermediary. Have a “They” in the background for whom you act and to whom you are responsible. If “They” are harsh, if “They” decide to break it off, it is never any fault of yours, and indeed you can pretend to have a personal grievance about it. “They” are always great gluttons for results and very stingy with cash until “They” get them. When the results come along, “They” always send messages of congratulation and encouragement.
  40. Try to find agents who do not work for money alone, but for conviction. Remember, however, that not by conviction alone, does the man live. If they need financial help, give it to them. And avoid the “woolly” type of idealist, the fellow who lives in the clouds.
  41. Become a real friend of your agents. Remember that he has a human side so bind him to you by taking an interest in his personal affairs and in his family. But never let the friendship be stronger than your sense of duty to the work. That must always be impervious to any sentimental considerations. Otherwise, your vision will be distorted, your judgment affected, and you may be reluctant, even, to place your men in a position of danger. You may also, by indulgence toward him, let him endanger others.
  42. Gain the confidence of your agents, but be wary of giving them more of yours than is necessary. He may fall by the way side; he may quarrel with you; it may be advisable for a number of reasons to drop him. In that case, obviously, the less information he possesses, the better. Equally obviously, if an agent runs the risk of falling into the hands of the enemy, it is unfair both to him and the show to put him in possession of more knowledge than he needs.
  43. If your agent can be laid off work periodically, this is a very good thing. And during his rest periods, let him show himself in another field and in other capacities.
  44. Teach them at least the elements of technique. Do not merely leave it to his own good judgment, and then hope for the best. Insist, for a long time at least, on his not showing too much initiative, but make him carry out strictly the instructions which you give him. His initiative will he tested when unexpected circumstances arise. Tell him off soundly when he errs; praise him when he does well.
  45. Do not be afraid to be harsh, or even harsh with others, if it is your duty to be so. You are expected to be likewise with yourself. When necessity arises neither your own feelings not those of others matter. Only the job — the lives and safety of those entrusted to you — is what counts.
  46. Remember that you have no right to expect of others what you are not prepared to do yourself. But on the other hand, do not rashly expose yourself in any unnecessary displays of personal courage that may endanger the whole shooting match. It often takes more moral courage to ask another fellow to do a dangerous task than to do it yourself. But if this is the proper course to follow, then you must follow it.
  47. If you have an agent who is really very important to you, who is almost essential to your organization, try not to let them know this. Infer, without belittling him, that there are other lines and other groups of a bigger nature inside the shadow, and that — while he and his particular group are doing fine work — they are but part of a mosaic.
  48. Never let your agent get the bit between his teeth and run away with you. If you cannot manage it easily yourself, there are always the terrible “They.”
  49. But if your agent knows the ground on which he is working better than you, always be ready to listen to his advice and to consult him. The man on the spot is the man who can judge.
  50. In the same way, if you get directives from HQ, which to you seem ill-advised, do not be afraid to oppose these directives. You are there for pointing things out. This is particularly so if there is grave danger to security without a real corresponding advantage for which the risk may be taken. For that, fight anybody with everything you’ve got.
  51. If you have several groups, keep them separate unless the moment comes for concerted action. Keep your lines separate; and within the bounds of reason and security, try to multiply them. Each separation and each multiplication minimizes the danger of total loss. Multiplication of lines also gives the possibility of resting each line, which is often a very desirable thing.
  52. Never set a thing really going, whether it be big or small, before you see it in its details. Do not count on luck. Or only on bad luck.
  53. When using couriers, who are in themselves trustworthy — (here again, the important element of personal friendship ought to be made to play its part) — but whom it is better to keep in the dark as to the real nature of what they are carrying, commercial smuggling will often provide an excellent cover. Apart from being a valid reason for secrecy, it gives people a kick and also provides one with a reason for offering payment. Furthermore, it involves a courier in something in which it is in his own personal advantage to conceal.
  54. To build this cover, should there be no bulk of material to pass, but only a document or a letter, it will be well always to enclose this properly sealed in a field dummy parcel with an unsealed outer wrapping.
  55. The ingredients for any new setup are: serious consideration of the field and of the elements at your disposal; the finding of one key man or more; safe surroundings for encounter; safe houses to meet in; post boxes; couriers; the finding of natural covers and pretext for journeys, etc.; the division of labor; separation into cells; the principal danger in constructing personal friendships between the elements (this is enormously important); avoidance of repetition.
  56. The thing to aim at, unless it is a question of a special job, is not quick results, which may blow up the show, but the initiation of a series of results, which will keep on growing and which, because the show has the proper protective mechanism to keep it under cover, will lead to discovery.
  57. Serious groundwork is much more important than rapid action. The organization does not merely consist of the people actively working but the potential agents whom you have placed where they may be needed, and upon whom you may call, if need arises.
  58. As with an organization, so with a particular individual. His first job in a new field is to forget about everything excepting his groundwork; that is, the effecting of his cover. Once people label him, the job is half done. People take things so much for granted and only with difficulty change their sizing-up of a man once they have made it. They have to be jolted out of it. It is up to you to see that they are not. If they do suspect, do not take it that all is lost and accept the position. Go back to your cover and build it up again. You will at first puzzle them and finally persuade them.
  59. The cover you choose will depend upon the type of work that you have to do. So also will the social life in which you indulge. It may be necessary to lead a full social existence; it may be advisable to stay in the background. You must school yourself not to do any wishful thinking in the sense of persuading yourself that what you want to do is what you ought to do.
  60. Your cover and social behavior, naturally, ought to be chosen to fit in with your background and character. Neither should be too much of a strain. Use them well. Imprint them, gradually but steadfastly on people’s minds. When your name crops up in conversation they must have something to say about you, something concrete outside of your real work.
  61. The place you live in is often a thorny problem. Hotels are seldom satisfactory. A flat of your own where you have everything under control is desirable; if you can share it with a discreet friend who is not in the business, so much the better. You can relax into a normal life when you get home, and he will also give you an opportunity of cover. Obviously the greatest care is to be taken in the choice of servants. But it is preferable to have a reliable servant than to have none at all. People cannot get in to search or fix telephones, etc. in your absence. And if you want to not be at home for awkward callers (either personal or telephonic), servants make that possible.
  62. If a man is married, the presence of his wife may be an advantage or disadvantage. That will depend on the nature of the job — as well as on the nature of the husband and wife.
  63. Should a husband tell his wife what he is doing? It is taken for granted that people in this line are possessed of discretion and judgment. If a man thinks his wife is to be trusted, then he may certainly tell her what he is doing — without necessarily telling her the confidential details of particular jobs. It would be fair to neither husband nor wife to keep her in the dark unless there were serious reasons demanding this. A wife would naturally have to be coached in behavior in the same way as an agent.
  64. Away from the job, among your other contacts, never know too much. Often you will have to bite down on your vanity, which would like to show what you know. This is especially hard when you hear a wrong assertion being made or a misstatement of events.
  65. Not knowing too much does not mean not knowing anything. Unless there is a special reason for it, it is not good either to appear a nitwit or a person lacking in discretion. This does not invite the placing of confidence in you.
  66. Show your intelligence, but be quiet on anything along the line you are working. Make others do the speaking. A good thing sometimes is to be personally interested as “a good patriot and anxious to pass along anything useful to official channels in the hope that it may eventually get to the right quarter.”
  67. When you think a man is possessed of useful knowledge or may in other ways be of value to you, remember that praise is acceptable to the vast majority of men. When honest praise is difficult, a spot of flattery will do equally well.
  68. Within the limits of your principles, be all things to all men. But don’t betray your principles. The strongest force in your show is you. Your sense of right, your sense of respect for yourself and others. And it is your job to bend circumstances to your will, not to let circumstances bend or twist you.
  69. In your work, always be in harmony with your own conscience. Put yourself periodically in the dock for cross examination. You can never do more than your best; only your best is good enough. And remember that only the job counts — not you personally, excepting satisfaction of a job well done.
  70. It is one of the finest jobs going. no matter how small the part you play may appear to be. Countless people would give anything to be in it. Remember that and appreciate the privilege. No matter what others may do, play your part well.
  71. Never get into a rut. Or rest on your oars. There are always new lines around the corner, always changes and variations to be introduced. Unchanging habits of work lead to carelessness and detection.
  72. If anything, overestimate the opposition. Certainly never underestimate it. But do not let that lead to nervousness or lack of confidence. Don’t get rattled, and know that with hard work, calmness, and by never irrevocably compromising yourself, you can always, always best them.
  73. Lastly, and above all — REMEMBER SECURITY.

The above points are not intended for any cursory, even interested, glance. They will bear — each of them — serious attention, and at least occasional re-perusal. It is probable, furthermore, that dotted here and there among them will be found claims that have particular present application for each person who reads them. These, naturally, are meant to be acted upon straightaway.”

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Blue Angels: The Naked Face of Empire

[Link] Editor’s note: We live in a world on the brink. As the climate crisis intensifies, racism and patriarchy rise and corporate control expands. What can be done? We Choose to Speak features a collection of essays by writer and organizer Max Wilbert exploring these topics and their solutions.

by Max Wilbert / Deep Green Resistance

The United States is a military empire that was built and is maintained by organized violence.

The origins of this country lie with the military conquest and either destruction or forced resettlement of indigenous people. Today, the modern American lifestyle is maintained, as Thomas Friedman (someone with whom I agree on very little) writes, by the “hidden fist” of the military.

“McDonalds cannot flourish without MacDonald Douglass,” Friedman wrote. “And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the US Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.”

I am reminded of this fact every August. August brings Seafair to Seattle, and with Seafair comes the Blue Angels, a Navy/Marines squadron of F/A-18 fighter bombers that travels the US each year, entertaining the public for an annual cost of $37 million.

As these jet aircraft roar overhead, I cover my ears and wince at the spectacle of widespread public adulation. These war machines are worshipped. Earlier today, I watched a five-year-old boy cheering and yelling “yee-haw” as the fighter formation shot overhead. Out on Lake Washington, a toxified remnant of what was once an ecological paradise, other Seattle residents on boats and rafts raised their hands towards the jets in supplication. As five aircraft passed directly overhead, I watched one white American man hold a can of beer above his face and pour the liquid directly down his throat.

For thousands of people, the roar of an F/A-18 fighter bomber is the last sound they ever heard. The F/A-18 aircraft played a major role during the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan and the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. Between these two conflicts, more than a million civilians were killed—many of them in bombings. The same jet continues to be used in Syria, in Yemen, in Somalia, and elsewhere all around the world.

The US military uses its power to promote and protect a certain vision of prosperity and societal development. In 1948, George Kennan, then the Director of Policy Planning for the US State Department, wrote in Memo PPS23 that “[The United States has] about 50 percent of the world’s wealth but only 6.3 percent of its population… Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships, which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity…”

In the 70 years since Kennan wrote that memo, that “pattern of relationships” has been successfully devised and maintained. The US military is the largest in the world by expenditure, with more than $600 billion in annual funding and more than 2 million personnel (including reservists).

The true costs of this are incalculable. They range from the ecocidal, genocidal destruction of Vietnam and Cambodia to the horrors of Gulf War Syndrome to the toxic remnants of weapons manufactories in cities across the country. In Guatemala and El Salvador, the legacy of US-sponsored right-wing terrorism still echoes through a shattered society. In Nevada and across oceania, indigenous lands remain irradiated from decades of weapons testing, and nuclear waste which continues to leak into groundwater and seep into soils will remain deadly for hundreds of thousands of years.

As Friedman reminds us, military might and corporate power remain inextricably linked in creating consumer culture. We are reminded of this at Seafair, where sponsors include 76, Boeing, Starbucks, Amazon, Uber, Oracle, Microsoft, LG, Samsung, CapitalOne, and many others.

Each F/A-18 costs about $29 million, and is produced by Boeing, the second-largest weapons manufacturer in the world, one of the 100 largest companies in the world, with just under $100 billion in annual revenue. Seattle still fawns over Boeing, which brought so much wealth to this region, just as it now fawns over Amazon and Microsoft. Their digital products colonize our minds, just as Boeing’s weapons help control territory.

Seafair also includes public tours of two warships, the USS Momsen (an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer equipped with 96 missiles) and the USS Somerset (a $2 billion troop transport ship equipped to carry 600+ soldiers and vehicles into combat zones). As thousands of people file through the ships, exclaiming over the might of the empire, we must remember that the US military is also the single largest polluter in the world, responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than any other single entity.

Some people think that because I critique the US military and US empire, I must support this nation’s opponents. This logic is absurd. The Taliban and ISIS, the Nazi regime, the Stalinist Soviet state; US enemies have included countless reprehensible regimes. Repression must be fought, but this nation always has ulterior motives hidden behind humanitarian rhetoric. In the games of empire, the people and the planet are being sacrificed.

Our enemy is empire itself.

But despite my opposition to imperialist wars, I’m not a pacifist. A friend of mine, Vince Emanuele, served in the Marine Corps during the invasion of Iraq. He became disillusioned with the military, left the service, and became a leading voice of dissent against the war.

In the wake of one of the latest calls for mass regulation of firearms, he wrote:

“Sure, I’ll give up my guns, as soon as the NSA, CIA, FBI, DEA, ATF, police, military, and right-wing militias disarm themselves. Until then, my liberal, progressive, and “leftist” friends can eat tofu, watch MSNBC/Bill Moyers, and go fly a kite. Your collective commentary is akin to the “privileged white-classes” that you so often rail against.

Believe me, I’d love to live in a world without guns, violence, and so forth. But, I’m not naive enough to believe these things are going away anytime soon. This nation is extremely sick, twisted, undereducated, and plagued with an exploding prison population, growing inequality, and ever-expanding military empire and surveillance state. We should be expecting much more violence in the future, not less.

Clearly, within the context of rapid climate change, growing social ills, and a collapsing economic system, giving up your weaponry seems a bit insane and utterly naive. Interestingly, it’s the liberals and progressives, who’ve largely grown up in cosmopolitan/suburban areas, who sound like the spoiled little American brats we so often challenge.

If you’ve never carried, fired, cleaned, taken apart, or counted on a weapon to save your life, I suggest taking a more humble approach to this issue. Conversely, if you’ve only fired your daddy’s handgun, shotgun, and rifle in the backyard, I suggest scaling back the glorification of weapons and violence.

If I thought killing and warfare were fun, I would have stayed in the military–but I didn’t. If I though weapons were unnecessary, I wouldn’t own any–but I do.”

Perhaps it’s time for a people’s army—a left-wing guerrilla force, grounded in feminism, anti-racism, and respect for human rights—to fight back against the imperialist empire, to bring the fight home and make CEOs and corporations and right-wing neofascists afraid again.

Interested readers can check out this and other radical books at BabylonApocalypse.org

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Activist Guide to Security: Defeating Geolocation and Tracking

[Link] by Max Wilbert / November 29th, 2018

We live in a surveillance state. As the Edward Snowden leaks and subsequent reporting has shown, government and private military corporations regularly target political dissidents for intelligence gathering. This information is used to undermine social movements, foment internecine conflict, discover weaknesses, and to get individuals thrown in jail for their justified resistance work.

As the idea of the panopticon describes, surveillance creates a culture of self-censorship. There aren’t enough people at security agencies to monitor everything, all of the time. Almost all of the data that is collected is never read or analyzed. In general, specific targeting of an individual for surveillance is the biggest threat. However, because people don’t understand the surveillance and how to defeat it, they subconsciously stop themselves from even considering serious resistance. In this way, they become self-defeating.

Surveillance functions primarily by creating a culture of paranoia through which the people begin to police themselves.

This is a guide to avoiding some of the most dangerous forms of location tracking. This information is meant to demystify tracking so that you can take easy, practical steps to mitigating the worst impacts. Activists and revolutionaries of all sorts may find this information helpful and should incorporate these practices into daily life, whether or not you are involved in any illegal action, as part of security culture.

About modern surveillance

We are likely all familiar with the extent of surveillance conducted by the NSA in the United States and other agencies such as the GCHQ in Britain. These organizations engage in mass data collection on a global scale, recording and storing every cell phone call, text message, email, social media comment, and other form of data they can get their hands on.

Our best defenses against this surveillance network are encryption, face-to-face networking and communication, and building legitimate communities of trust based on robust security culture.

Capitalism has expanded surveillance to every person. Data collection has long been big business, but the internet and smartphones have created a bonanza in data collection. Corporations regularly collect, share, buy, and sell information including your:

Home address

Workplace

Location tracking data

Businesses you frequent

Political affiliations

Hobbies

Family and relationship connections

Purchasing habits

And much more

Much of this information is available on the open marketplace. For example, it was recently reported that many police departments are purchasing location records from cell phones companies such as Verizon that show a record of every tower a given cell phone has connected to. By purchasing this information from a corporation, this allows police to bypass the need to receive a warrant—just one example of how corporations and the state collaborate to protect capitalism and the status quo.

Forms of location tracking

There are two main types of location tracking we are going to look at in this article: cell tower tracking and GPS geolocation.

Cell phone tracking

Whenever a cell phone connects to a cell tower, a unique device ID number is transmitted to the service provider. For most people, their cell phone is connected directly to their identity because they pay a monthly fee, signed up using their real name, and so on. Therefore, any time you connect to a cell network, your location is logged.

The more cell towers are located in your area, the more exact your location may be pinpointed. This same form of tracking applies to smartphones, older cell phones, as well as tablets, computers, cars, and other devices that connect to cell networks. This data can be aggregated over time to form a detailed picture of your movements and connections.

GPS tracking

Many handheld GPS units are “receiver only” units, meaning they can only tell you where you are located. They don’t actually send data to GPS satellites, they only passively receive data. However, this is not the case with all GPS devices.

For example, essentially every new car that is sold today includes built-in GPS geolocation beacons. These are designed to help you recover a stolen car, or call for roadside assistance in remote areas.

Additionally, many smartphones track GPS location data and store that information. The next time you connect to a WiFi or cell phone network, that data is uploaded and shared to external services. GPS tracking can easily reveal your exact location to within 10 feet.

Defeating location tracking

So how do we stop these forms of location tracking from being effective? There are five main techniques we can use, all of which are simple and low-tech.

(a) Don’t carry a cell phone. It’s almost a blasphemy in our modern world, but this is the safest way for activists and revolutionaries to operate.

(b) Use “burner” phones. A “burner” is a prepaid cell phone that can be purchased using cash at big-box stores like Wal-Mart. In the USA, only two phones may be purchased per person, per day. If it is bought with cash and activated using the Tor network, a burner phone cannot typically be linked to your identity.

WORD OF CAUTION: rumor has it that the NSA and other agencies run sophisticated voice identification algorithms via their mass surveillance networks. If you are in a maximum-security situation, you may need to use a voice scrambler, only use text messages, or take other precautions. Also note that burners are meant to be used for a short period of time, then discarded.

(c) Remove the cell phone battery. Cell phones cannot track your location if they are powered off. However, it is believed that spy agencies have the technical capability to remotely turn on cell phones for use as surveillance devices. To defeat this, remove the battery completely. This is only possible with some phones, which brings us to method number four.

(d) Use a faraday bag. A faraday bag (sometimes called a “signal blocking bag”) is made of special materials that block radio waves (WiFi, cell networks, NFC, and Bluetooth all are radio waves). These bags can be purchased for less than $50, and will block all signals while your phones or devices are inside. These bags are often used by cops, for example, to prevent remote wiping of devices in evidence storage. If you are ever arrested with digital devices, you may notice the cops place them in faraday bags.

WORD OF CAUTION: Modern smartphones include multiple sensors including a compass and accelerometer. There have been proof-of-concept experiments showing that a smartphone inside a faraday bag can still track your location by using these sensors in a form of dead reckoning. In high-security situations where you may be targeted individually, this is a real consideration.

(e) Don’t buy any modern car that includes GPS. Note that almost all rental cars contain GPS tracking devices as well. Any time a person is traveling for a serious action, it is safest to use an older vehicle. If you may be under surveillance, it is best to use a vehicle that is not directly connected to you or to the movement.

Conclusion

There are caveats here. I am not a technical expert, I am merely a revolutionary who is highly concerned about mass surveillance. Methods of location tracking are always evolving. And there are many methods.

This article doesn’t, for example, discuss the simple method of placing a GPS tracker on a car. These small magnetic devices can be purchased on the private market and attached to the bottom of any vehicle.

However, these basic principles can be applied across a wide range of scenarios, with some modification, to greatly increase your privacy and security.

Good luck! 

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DGR France Organizing Update

[Link] From our Deep Green Resistance comrades in France:

“They talked about DGR twice on Swiss radio RTS. Big station. RTS radio interviewed two members about direct action. We were invited to speak at a big conference festival in Lyon. I talked about how unsustainable this industrial civilization is and how we need more militant and strategic action (50% teenagers 50% adults). Speaking in front of 300+ people was a first for me but it went well. A little chaotic because nobody in the panel had the same analysis.

The DGR book is being published in two volumes. Chapter 1 to 6 is coming out on November 30th. With this launch of the book we will organize membership and local chapters here in France… People are talking a lot about DGR among militant circles. Sociology students want to study us lol.”

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Amnesia & Lack of Accountability Reign as Wall Street Celebrates Halliburton’s 100-year anniversary

[Link] by Lauren Smith, guest author

When it comes to the ruling elite’s corporate plunder and crimes against humanity, the U.S. national memory’s short and no one, not even its political henchmen, assume blame or suffer real consequences: take Halliburton and former chief executive and U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney for example.  Not only did Cheney plan and justify the invasion, occupation and pilferage of Iraq’s oil, gold bars and national museum treasures under treasonous false pretenses, but its subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR Inc.), overcharged the U.S. taxpayer to a tune of more than $2 billion due to collusion engendered by sole source contracting methods and shoddy accounting procedures. It’s even forgotten that Cheney received a $34 million payout from Halliburton when he joined the Vice President ticket in 2000, in advance of his unscrupulous maneuvers, according to news commentator, Chris Matthews; because on November 5th 2018, in celebration of its 100-year anniversary, its chief executives rang the New York Stock Exchange’s (NYSE) opening bell.

Sadly, as a nation, the U.S. doesn’t recall Cheney’s lies, or his role in planning the contemptible “Shock and Awe” saturation bombing campaign that destroyed a sovereign nation, which posed no threat to the United States, and left the world’s cradle of civilization in ruins. Conveniently, it doesn’t recall the over 500,000 deaths from war related causes, as reported by the Huffington Post in its 2017 updated article; nor does it recall that obliterating Iraq’s government created a sociopolitical vacuum that enabled the exponential growth of the CIA’s unique brand of Islamofascism and its resulting terrorism, which has culminated in war-torn Syria and Yemen.

Iraq’s only “crime” against the United States, if you want to call it that, was being hogtied by Washington’s sanctions and embargo against it – in what can only be called a Catch 22 situation.  Iraq couldn’t do business with U.S. corporations not because Saddam Hussein was unwilling to, but because the U.S. government effectively barred Iraq from doing so.  This Catch 22 situation is presently being repeated in Venezuela and Iran in advance of its planned invasion and occupation.

Then there is the cost of war itself: according to The Costs of War project at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, “The wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq (the war in Pakistan refers to U.S. counterterrorism efforts there, such as drone strikes and other efforts against al Qaeda) cost $4.4 trillion. Included in the cost are: direct Congressional war appropriations; war-related increases to the Pentagon base budget; veterans care and disability; increases in the homeland security budget; interest payments on direct war borrowing; foreign assistance spending; and estimated future obligations for veterans’ care. By 2053, interest payments on the debt alone could reach over $7 trillion.”

Keep in mind that the U.S. taxpayer directly subsidizes the profits of the military industrial complex, and oil & gas industries.  Yet, no U.S. protests against Halliburton are found in the media later than 2007.  And, there are no organized disinvestment campaigns of record.

So Wall Street celebrates Halliburton’s 100-year anniversary with a clear conscience, because no one has graffitied its large four column wide sign or is disinvested from its stock. The nation only recalls, according to IBTimes, in their 2013 article on Iraq war contracts, that Halliburton’s subsidiary, KBR, had the most:  KBR’s war contracts totaled $39.5 billion in just a decade.

Other than the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission, which found Cheney and President Bush et al guilty of war crimes in absentia for the illegal invasion of Iraq, there remains no lasting acknowledgement in the U.S. consciousness of Cheney’s evil doings.  Cheney had recent book deals and continues to ramble on with speaking engagements.  He was scheduled by Cornell University to issue a keynote address as recent as May 2018.  In short, the ruling elite protects those engaged in their dirty work until they prove unnecessary.  In this regard, consider the fact that Saddam Hussein was a former CIA asset and a good corporate customer – as the weapons of mass destruction (WMD), he once possessed, were sold to him by the U.S. and Britain.  However, according to the former United Nations (UN) chief weapon inspector, Scott Ritter, the UN destroyed Iraq’s stockpiles after the Persian Gulf War (1990-1991) – well before the 2003 invasion.  This report was ignored because it contradicted the prevailing narrative that justified the invasion, occupation and looting of Iraq.

Just as the ruling elite engineered Saddam Hussein rise to power when he was useful, they ensured Cheney’s political ascent, and the success of his campaign against Iraq.  To illustrate the persuasive power of the oil & gas industry in politics, note that according to Open Secrets.org, oil & gas lobbyists spent over $175M in 2009 (Obama’s first year in office). Of that amount, ExxonMobil spent the most at $27.4M and Chevron Corp., in second place, spent $20.8M. For the record, ExxonMobil and Chevron are successors of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company.  Prior to President Obama & Vice President Biden, the Oil & Gas Industry lobbyists spent approximately half that amount at $86.5M in 2007.  Thus, Bush & Cheney represented a 50% savings for oil & gas lobbyists.

When seeking to “out” the elite, keep in mind that the Rockefeller clan describe themselves “as ExxonMobil’s longest continuous shareholders.”  In Iraq, ExxonMobil has a 60% share of a $50 billion market contract developing the 9-billion-barrels southern West Qurna Phase I field, and ExxonMobil is expanding its oil & gas holdings into the semiautonomous Kurdish region in the country’s north.

Within this context, the enemy is not a corporate office, an oilrig, pipeline or refinery; it’s the ruling elite that own and control the means of production.  If people of conscience don’t hold them accountable for their crimes, they will continue to commit them in countries such as Venezuela and Iran, which are presently locked in their sights.  While henchmen change, the ruling elite remains.  Why should the U.S. allow its military and secret service to be pimped out as corporate stooges and glorified security guards?

Imperialism is insatiable and fascism expedient. The time to hold the ruling elite accountable is now before another invasion and occupation is executed against a fake enemy that just so happens to coincidentally have a large desirable oil reserve.  Let’s follow Iceland’s lead and seek the prosecution of white-collar criminals that hide behind a facade of corporate stock holdings now, before its too late and they strike again in Venezuela and Iran.

So for Halliburton’s 100-year anniversary wish, let’s wish its stock tanks and that its guilty are remembered, held accountable, and that justice is ultimately served.

Lauren Smith has a BA in Politics, Economics and Society from SUNY at Old Westbury and an MPA in International Development Administration from New York University.  Her historical fiction novel based on Nicaragua’s 1979 revolution is due out in 2019.

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Book Excerpt: Underground Tactics

[Story] Editor’s note: The following is from the chapter “Tactics and Targets” of the book Deep Green Resistance: A Strategy to Save the  Planet. This book is now available for free online.

by Aric McBay

Some tactics can be carried out underground—like general liberation organizing and propaganda—but are more effective aboveground. Where open speech is dangerous, these types of tactics may move underground to adapt to circumstances. The African National Congress, in its struggle for basic human rights, should have been allowed to work aboveground, but that simply wasn’t possible in repressive apartheid South Africa.

And then there are tactics that are only appropriate for the underground, obligate underground operations that depend on secrecy and security. Escape lines and safehouses for persecuted persons and resistance fugitives are example of those operations. There’s a reason it’s called the “underground” railroad—it’s not transferable to the aboveground, because the entire operation is completely dependent on secrecy. Clandestine intelligence gathering is another case; the French Resistance didn’t gather enemy secrets by walking up to the nearest SS office and asking for a list of their troop deployments.

Some tactics are almost always limited to the underground:

  • Clandestine intelligence
  • Escape
  • Sabotage and attacks on materiel
  • Attacks on troops
  • Intimidation
  • Assassination

As operational categories, intelligence and escape are pretty clear, and few people looking at historical struggles will deny the importance of gathering information or aiding people to escape persecution. Of course, some abolitionists in the antebellum US didn’t support the Underground Railroad. And many Jewish authorities tried to make German Jews cooperate with registration and population control measures. In hindsight, it’s clear to us that these were huge strategic and moral mistakes, but at the time it may only have been clear to the particularly perceptive and farsighted.

Sabotage and attacks on materiel are overlapping tactics. Oftentimes, sabotage is more subtle; for example, machinery may be disabled without being recognized as sabotage. Attacks on materiel are often more overt efforts to destroy and disable the adversary’s equipment and supplies. In any case, they form an inclusive continuum, with sabotage on the more clandestine end of the scale.

It’s true that harm can be caused through sabotage, and that sabotage can be a form of violence. But allowing a machine to operate can also be more violent than sabotaging it. Think of a drift net. How many living creatures does a drift net kill as it passes through the ocean, regardless of whether it’s being used for fishing or not? Destroying a drift net—or sabotaging a boat so that a drift net cannot be deployed—would save countless lives. Sabotaging a drift net is clearly a nonviolent act. However, you could argue conversely that not sabotaging a drift net (provided you had the means and opportunity) is a profoundly violent act—indeed, violent not just for individual creatures, but violent on a massive, ecological scale. The drift net is an obvious example, but we could make a similar (if longer and more roundabout) argument for most any industrial machinery.

You’re opposed to violence? So where’s your monkey wrench?

Sabotage is not categorically violent, but the next few underground categories may involve violence on the part of resisters. Attacks on troops, intimidation, assassination, and the like have been used to great effect by a great many resistance movements in history. From the assassination of SS officers by escaping concentration camp inmates to the killing of slave owners by revolting slaves to the assassination of British torturers by Michael Collins’s Twelve Apostles, the selective use of violence has been essential for victory in a great many resistance and liberation struggles.

Attacks on troops are common where a politically conscious population lives under overt military occupation. In these situations, there is often little distinction between uniformed militaries, police, and government paramilitaries (like the Black and Tans or the miliciens). The violence may be secondary. Sometimes the resistance members are trying to capture equipment, documents, or intelligence; how many guerrillas have gotten started by killing occupying soldiers to get guns? Sometimes the attack is intended to force the enemy to increase its defensive garrisons or pull back to more defended positions and abandon remote or outlying areas. Sometimes the point is to demonstrate the strength or capabilities of the resistance to the population and the occupier. Sometimes the point is actually to kill enemy soldiers and deplete the occupying force. Sometimes the troops are just sentries or guards, and the primary target is an enemy building or facility.

Of course, for these attacks to happen successfully, they must follow the basic rules of asymmetric conflict and general good strategy. When raiding police stations for guns, the IRA chose remote, poorly guarded sites. Guerrillas like to go after locations with only one or two sentries, and any attack on those small sites forces the occupier to make tough choices: abandon an outpost because it can’t be adequately defended or increase security by doubling the number of guards. Either benefits the resistance and saps the resources of the occupier.

And although in industrial conflicts it’s often true that destroying materiel and disrupting logistics can be very effective, that’s sometimes not enough. Take American involvement in the Vietnam War. The American cost in terms of materiel was enormous—in modern dollars, the war cost close to $600 billion. But it wasn’t the cost of replacing helicopters or fueling convoys that turned US sentiment against the war. It was the growing stream of American bodies being flown home in coffins.

There’s a world of difference—socially, organizationally, psychologically—between fighting the occupation of a foreign government and the occupation of a domestic one. There’s something about the psychology of resistance that makes it easier for people to unite against a foreign enemy. Most people make no distinction between the people living in their country and the government of that country, which is why the news will say “America pulls out of climate talks” when they are talking about the US government. This psychology is why millions of Vietnamese people took up arms against the American invasion, but only a handful of Americans took up arms against that invasion (some of them being soldiers who fragged their officers, and some of them being groups like the Weather Underground who went out of their way not to injure the people who were burning Vietnamese peasants alive by the tens of thousands). This psychology explains why some of the patriots who fought in the French Resistance went on to torture people to repress the Algerian Resistance. And it explains why most Germans didn’t even support theoretical resistance against Hitler a decade after the war.

This doesn’t bode well for resistance in the minority world, where the rich and powerful minority live. People in poorer countries may be able to rally against foreign corporations and colonial dictatorships, but those in the center of empire contend with power structures that most people consider natural, familiar, even friendly. But these domestic institutions of power—be they corporate or governmental—are just as foreign, and just as destructive, as an invading army. They may be based in the same geographic region as we are, but they are just as alien as if they were run by robots or little green men.

Intimidation is another tactic related to violence that is usually conducted underground. This tactic is used by the “Gulabi Gang” (also called the Pink Sari Gang) of Uttar Pradesh, a state in India.4 Leader Sampat Pal Devi calls it “a gang for justice.” The Gulabi Gang formed as a response to deeply entrenched and violent patriarchy (especially domestic and sexual violence) and caste-based discrimination. The members use a variety of tactics to fight for women’s rights, but their “vigilante violence” has gained global attention. With over 500 members, they can exert considerable force. They’ve stopped child marriages. They’ve beaten up men who perpetrate domestic violence. The gang forced the police to register crimes against Untouchables by slapping police officers until they complied. They’ve hijacked trucks full of food that were going to be sold for a profit by corrupt officials. Their hundreds of members practice self-defense with the lathi (a traditional Indian stick or staff weapon). It’s no surprise their ranks are growing.

Gulabi Gang

Many of these examples tread the boundary of our aboveground-underground distinction. When struggling against systems of patriarchy that have closely allied themselves with governments and police (which is to say, virtually all systems of patriarchy), women’s groups that have been forced to use violence or the threat of violence may have to operate in a clandestine fashion at least some of the time. At the same time, the effects of their self-defense must be prominent and publicized. Killing a rapist or abuser has the obvious benefit of stopping any future abuses by that individual. But the larger beneficial effect is to intimidate other would-be abusers—to turn the tables and prevent other incidents of rape or abuse by making the consequences for perpetrators known. The Gulabi Gang is so popular and effective in part because they openly defy abuses of male power, so the effect on both men and women is very large. Their aboveground defiance rallies more support than they could by causing abusive men to die in a series of mysterious accidents. The Black Panthers were similarly popular because they publically defied the violent oppression meted out by police on a daily basis. And by openly bearing arms, they were able to intimidate the police (and other people, like drug dealers) into reducing their abuses.

There are limits to the use of intimidation on those in power. The most powerful people are the most physically isolated—they might have bodyguards or live in gated houses. They have far more coercive force at their fingertips than any resistance movement. For that reason, resistance groups have historically used intimidation primarily on low-level functionaries and collaborators who give information to those in power when asked or who cooperate with them in a more limited way.

It’s important to acknowledge the distinction between intimidation and terrorism. Terrorism consists of violent attacks on civilians. Resistance intimidation directly targets those responsible for oppressive and exploitative acts and power structures, and lets those people know that there are consequences for their actions. The reason it gets people so riled up is because it involves violence (or the threat of violence) going up the hierarchy. But resistance intimidation is ultimately, of course, an attempt to reduce violence. Groups like the Gulabi Gang beat abusive men instead of just killing them. There’s a reasonable escalation that gives men a chance to stop their wrongdoing and also makes the consequences for further wrongdoing clear. Rape and domestic abuse are terrorism; they’re senseless and unprovoked acts of violence against unarmed civilians, designed to threaten and terrorize women (and men) into compliance. The intimidation of rapists or domestic abusers is one tactic that can be used to stop their violence while employing the minimum amount of violence possible.

No resistance movement wants to engage in needless cycles of violence and retribution with those in power. But a refusal to employ violent tactics when they are appropriate will very likely lead to more violence. Many abolitionists did not support John Brown because they considered his plan for a defensive liberation struggle to be too violent—but Brown’s failure led inevitably to a lengthy and gruesome Civil War (as well as continued years of bloody slavery), a consequence that was orders of magnitude more violent than Brown’s intended plan.

This leads us to the last major underground tactic: assassination.

In talking about assassination (or any attack on humans) in the context of resistance, two key questions must be asked. First, is the act strategically beneficial, that is, would assassination further the strategy of the group? Second, is the act morally just, given the person in question? (The issue of justice is necessarily particular to the target; it’s assumed that the broader strategy incorporates aims to increase justice.)

As is shown on my two-by-two grid of all combinations, an assassination may be strategic and just, it may be strategic and unjust, it may be unstrategic but just, or it may be both unstrategic and unjust. Obviously, any action in the last category would be out of the question. Any action in the strategic and just category could be a good bet for an armed resistance movement. The other two categories are where things get complex.

Figure 13-3

Hitler exemplified a number of different strategy vs. justice combinations at different points in time. It’s a common moral quandary to ask whether it would be a good idea to go back in time and kill Hitler as a child, provided time travel were possible. There’s a good bet that this would have averted World War II and the Holocaust, which would have been a good thing, so put a check mark in the “strategic” column. The problem is that most people would consider it unjust to murder an innocent child who had yet to commit any crimes, so it would be difficult to call that action just in the immediate sense.

Once Hitler had risen to power in the late 1930s, though, his aim was clear, as he had already been whipping up hate and expanding his control of Nazi Germany. At that point, it would have been both strategic and just to assassinate him. Indeed, elements in the Wehrmacht (army) and the Abwehr (intelligence) considered it, because they knew what Hitler was planning to do. Unfortunately, they were indecisive, and did not commit to the plan. Hitler soon began invading Germany’s neighbors, and as his popularity soared, the assassination plan was shelved. It was years before inside elements would actually stage an assassination attempt.

Figure 13-4

That famous attempt took place—and failed—on July 20, 1944.5What’s interesting is that the Allies were also considering an attempt on Hitler’s life, which they called Operation Foxley. They knew that Hitler routinely went on walks alone in a remote area, and devised a plan to parachute in two operatives dressed as German officers, one of them a sniper, who would lay in wait and assassinate Hitler when he walked by. The plan was never enacted because of internal controversy. Many in the SOE and British government believed that Hitler was a poor strategist, a maniac whose overreach would be his downfall. If he were assassinated, they believed, his replacement (likely Himmler) would be a more competent leader, and this would draw out the war and increase Allied losses. In the opinion of the Allies it was unquestionably just to kill Hitler, but no longer strategically beneficial.

There is no shortage of situations where assassination would have been just, but of questionable strategic value. Resistance groups pondering assassination have many questions to ask themselves in deciding whether they are being strategic or not. What is the value of this potential target to the enemy? Is this an exceptional person or does his or her influence come from his or her role in the organization? Who would replace this person, and would that person be better or worse for the struggle? Will it make any difference on an organizational scale or is the potential target simply an interchangeable cog? Uniquely valuable individuals make uniquely valuable targets for assassination by resistance groups.

Of course, in a military context (and this overlaps with attacks on troops), snipers routinely target officers over enlisted soldiers. In theory, officers or enlisted soldiers are standardized and replaceable, but, in practice, officers constitute more valuable targets. There’s a difference between theoretical and practical equivalence; there might be other officers to replace an assassinated one, but the replacement might not arrive in a timely manner nor would he have the experience of his predecessor (experience being a key reason that Michael Collins assassinated intelligence officers). That said, snipers don’t just target officers. Snipers target any enemy soldiers available, because war is essentially about destroying the other side’s ability to wage war.

The benefits must also outweigh costs or side effects. Resistance members may be captured or killed in the attempt. Assassination also provokes a major response—and major reprisals—because it is a direct attack on those in power. When SS boss Reinhard Heydrich (“the butcher of Prague”) was assassinated in 1942, the Nazis massacred more than 1,000 Czech people in response. In Canada, martial law (via the War Measures Act) has only ever been declared three times—during WWI and WWII, and again after the assassination of the Quebec Vice Premier of Quebec by the Front de Libération du Québec. Remember, aboveground allies may bear the brunt of reprisals for assassinations, and those reprisals can range from martial law and police crackdowns to mass arrests or even executions.

There’s an important distinction to be made between assassination as an ideological tactic versus as a military tactic. As a military tactic, employed by countless snipers in the history of war, assassination decisively weakens the adversary by killing people with important experience or talents, weakening the entire organization. Assassination as an ideological tactic—attacking or killing prominent figures because of ideological disagreements—almost always goes sour, and quickly. There are few more effective ways to create martyrs and trigger cycles of violence without actually accomplishing anything decisive. The assassination of Michael Collins, for example, by his former allies led only to bloody civil war.

DECISIVE OPERATIONS UNDERGROUND

Individuals working underground focus mostly on small-scale acts of sabotage and subversion that make the most of their skill and opportunity. Because they lack escape networks, and because they must be opportunistic, it’s ideal for their actions to be what French resisters called insaisissable–untraceable or appearing like an accident—unless the nature of the action requires otherwise.

Individual saboteurs are more effective with some informal coordination—if, for example, a general day of action has been called. It also helps if the individuals seize an opportunity by springing into action when those in power are already off balance or under attack, like the two teenaged French girls who sabotaged trains carrying German tanks after D-Day, thus hampering the German ability to respond to the Allied landing.

One individual resister who attempted truly decisive action was Georg Elser, a German-born carpenter who opposed Hitler from the beginning. When Hitler started the World War II in 1939, Elser resolved to assassinate Hitler. He spent hours every night secretly hollowing out a hidden cavity in the beer hall where Hitler spoke each year on the anniversary of his failed coup. Elser used knowledge he learned from working at a watch factory to build a timer, and planted a bomb in the hidden cavity. The bomb went off on time, but by chance Hilter left early and survived. When Elser was captured, the Gestapo tortured him for information, refusing to believe that a single tradesperson with a grade-school education could come so close to killing Hitler without help. But Elser, indeed, worked entirely alone.

Underground networks can accomplish decisive operations that require greater coordination, numbers, and geographic scope. This is crucial. Large-scale coordination can turn even minor tactics—like simple sabotage—into dramatically decisive events. Underground saboteurs from the French Resistance to the ANC relied on simple techniques, homemade tools, and “appropriate technology.” With synchronization between even a handful of groups, these underground networks can make an entire economy grind to a halt.

The change is more than quantitative, it’s qualitative. A massively coordinated set of actions is fundamentally different from an uncoordinated set of the same actions. Complex systems respond in a nonlinear fashion. They can adapt and maintain equilibrium in the face of small insults, minor disruptions. But beyond a certain point, increasing attacks undermine the entire system, causing widespread failure or collapse.

Because of this, coordination is perhaps the most compelling argument for underground networks over mere isolated cells. I’ll discuss coordinated actions in more detail in the next chapter: Decisive Ecological Warfare.

SUSTAINING OPERATIONS UNDERGROUND

Since individuals working underground are pretty much alone, they have very few options for sustaining operations. They may potentially recruit or train others to form an underground cell. Or they may try to make contact with other people or groups (either underground or aboveground) to work as an auxiliary of some kind, such as an intelligence source, especially if they are able to pass on information from inside a government or corporate bureaucracy. But making this connection is often very challenging.

Individual escape and evasion may also be a decisive or sustaining action, at least on a small scale. Antebellum American slavery offers some examples. In a discussion of slave revolts, historian Deborah Gray White explains, “[I]ndividual resistance did not overthrow slavery, but it might have encouraged masters to make perpetual servitude more tolerable and lasting. Still, for many African Americans, individual rebellions against the authority of slaveholders fulfilled much the same function as did the slave family, Christianity, and folk religion: it created the psychic space that enabled Black people to survive.”

Historian John Michael Vlach observes: “Southern plantations actually served as the training grounds for those most inclined to seek their freedom.” Slaves would often escape for short periods of time as a temporary respite from compelled labor before returning to plantations, a practice often tolerated by owners. These escapes provided opportunities to build a camp or even steal and stock up on provisions for another escape. Sometimes slaves would use temporary escapes as attempts to compel better behavior from plantation owners.7 In any case, these escapes and minor thefts helped to build a culture of resistance by challenging the omnipotence of slave owners and reclaiming some small measure of autonomy and freedom.

Individuals have some ability to assert power, but recruitment is key in underground sustaining operations. A single cell can gather or steal equipment and supplies for itself, but it can’t participate in wider sustaining operations unless it forms a network by recruiting organizationally, training new members and auxiliaries, and extending into new cells. One underground cell is all you need to create an entire network. Creating the first cell—finding those first few trusted comrades, developing communications and signals—is the hardest part, because other cells can be founded on the same template, and the members of the existing cell can be used to recruit, screen, and train new members.

Even though it’s inherently difficult for an underground group to coordinate with other distinct underground groups, it is possible for an underground cell to offer supporting operations to aboveground campaigns. It was an underground group—the Citizen’s Commission to Investigate the FBI—that exposed COINTELPRO, and allowed many aboveground groups to understand and counteract the FBI’s covert attacks on them. And the judicious use of sabotage could buy valuable time for aboveground groups to mobilize in a given campaign.

There are clearly campaigns in which aboveground groups have no desire for help from the underground, in which case it’s best for the underground to focus on other projects. But the two can work together on the same strategy without direct coordination. If a popular aboveground campaign against a big-box store or unwanted new industrial site fails because of corrupt politicians, an underground group can always pick up the slack and damage or destroy the facility under construction. Sometimes people argue that there’s no point in sabotaging anything, because those in power will just build it again. But there may come a day when those in power start to say “there’s no point in building it—they’ll just burn it down again.”

Underground cells may also run a safehouse or safehouses for themselves and allies. Single cells can’t run true underground railroads, but even single safehouses are valuable in dealing with repression or persecution. A key challenge in underground railroads and escape lines is that the escapees have to make contact with underground helpers without exposing themselves to those in power. Larger, more “formalized” underground networks have specialized methods and personnel for this, but a single cell running a safehouse may not. If an underground cell is conscientious, its members will be the only ones aware that the safehouse exists at all, which puts the burden on them to contact someone who requires refuge.

Mass persecution and repression has happened enough times in history to provide a wealth of examples where this would be appropriate. The internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II is quite well-known. Less well-known is the internment of hundreds of leftist radicals and labor activists starting in 1940. Leading activists associated with certain other ethnic organizations (especially Ukrainian), the labor movement, and the Communist party were arrested and sent to isolated work camps in various locations around Canada. A few managed to go into hiding, at least temporarily, but the vast majority were captured and sent to the camps, where a number of them died.8 In a situation like that, an underground cell could offer shelter to a persecuted aboveground activist or activists on an invitational basis without having to expose themselves openly.

Many of these operations work in tandem. Resistance networks from the SOE to the ANC have used their escape lines and underground railroads to sneak recruits to training sites in friendly areas and then infiltrated those people back into occupied territory to take up the fight.

Underground networks may be large enough to create “areas of persistence” where they exert a sizeable influence and have developed an underground infrastructure rooted in a culture of resistance. If an underground network reaches a critical mass in a certain area, it may be able to significantly disrupt the command and control systems of those in power, allowing resisters both aboveground and underground a greater amount of latitude in their work.

There are a number of examples of resistance movements successfully creating areas of persistence. The Zapatistas in Mexico exert considerable influence in Chiapas, so much so that they can post signs to that effect. “You are in Zapatista rebel territory” proclaims one typical sign (translated from Spanish). “Here the people give the orders and the government obeys.” The posting also warns against drug and alcohol trafficking or use and against the illegal sale of wood. “No to the destruction of nature.”9 Other Latin American resistance movements, such as the FMLN in El Salvador and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, created areas of persistence in Latin America in the late twentieth century. Hamas in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon have similarly established large areas of persistence in the Middle East.

SHAPING OPERATIONS UNDERGROUND

Because working underground is dangerous and difficult, effective resisters mostly focus on decisive and sustaining operations that will be worth their while. That said, there are still some shaping operations for the underground.

This includes general counterintelligence and security work. Ferreting out and removing informers and infiltrators is a key step in allowing resistance organizations of every type to grow and resistance strategies to succeed. Neither the ANC nor the IRA were able to win until they could deal effectively with such people.

Underground cells can also carry out some specialized propaganda operations. For reasons already discussed, propaganda in general is best carried out by aboveground groups, but there are exceptions. In particularly repressive regimes, basic propaganda and education projects must move underground to continue to function and protect identities. Underground newspapers and forms of pirate radio are two examples. Entire, vast underground networks have been built on this principle. In Soviet Russia, samizdat was the secret copying of and distribution of illegal or censored texts. A person who received a piece of illegal literature—say, Vaclav Havel’s Power of the Powerless—was expected to make more copies and pass them on. In a pre–personal computer age, in a country where copy machines and printing presses were under state control, this often meant laboriously copying books by hand or typewriter.

Underground groups may also want to carry out certain high-profile or spectacular “demonstration” actions to demonstrate that underground resistance is possible and that it is happening, and to offer a model for a particular tactic or target to be emulated by others. Of course, demonstrative actions may be valuable, but they can also degrade into symbolism for the sake of symbolism. Plenty of underground groups, the Weather Underground included, hoped to use their actions to “ignite a revolution.” But, in general—and especially when “the masses” can’t be reasonably expected to join in the fight—underground groups must get their job done by being as decisive as possible.

Editor’s note: continue reading at Target Selection.

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Book Excerpt: Target Selection

[Story] Editor’s note: The following is from the chapter “Tactics and Targets” of the book Deep Green Resistance: A Strategy to Save the  Planet. This book is now available for free online.

by Aric McBay

A good tactic used on a poor target has little effect.

The Field Manual on Guerrilla Warfare identifies four “important factors related to the target which influence its final selection,”10 later expanded to six with the CARVER matrix.13 These criteria are meant specifically for targets to be disrupted or destroyed, not necessarily when choosing potential targets for intelligence gathering or further investigation. The six criteria are as follows:

Criticality. How important is this target to the enemy and to enemy operations? “A target is critical when its destruction or damage will exercise a significant influence upon the enemy’s ability to conduct or support operations. Such targets as bridges, tunnels, ravines, and mountain passes are critical to lines of communication; engines, ties, and POL [petroleum, oil, and lubricant] stores are critical to transportation. Each target is considered in relationship to other elements of the target system.” Resistance movements (and the military) look for bottlenecks when selecting a target. And they make sure to think in big picture terms, rather than just in terms of a specific individual target. What target(s) can be disrupted or destroyed to cause maximum damage to the entire enemy system? Multiple concurrent surprise attacks are ideal for resistance movements, and can cause cascading failures.

Accessibility. How easy is it to get near the target? “Accessibility is measured by the ability of the attacker to infiltrate into the target area. In studying a target for accessibility, security controls around the target area, location of the target, and means of infiltration are considered.” It’s important to make a clear distinction between accessibility and vulnerability. For a resister in Occupied France, a well-guarded fuel depot might be explosively vulnerable, but not very accessible. For resisters in German-occupied Warsaw, the heavy wall surrounding the Warsaw Ghetto might be easily accessible, but not very vulnerable unless they carried powerful explosives. Good intelligence and reconnaissance are key to identifying and bypassing obstacles to access.

Recuperability. How much effort would it take to rebuild or replace the target? “Recuperability is the enemy’s ability to restore a damaged facility to normal operating capacity. It is affected by the enemy capability to repair and replace damaged portions of the target.” Specialized installations, hard-to-find parts, or people with special unique skills are difficult to replace. Targets with very common or mass-produced and stockpiled components would be poorer targets in terms of recuperability. Undermining enemy recuperability can be done with good planning and multiple attacks: SOE saboteurs were trained to target the same important parts on every machine. If they were to sabotage all of the locomotives in a stockyard, they would blow up the same part on each train, thus preventing the engineers from cannibalizing parts from other trains to make a working one.

Vulnerability. How tough is the target? “Vulnerability is a target’s susceptibility to attack by means available to [resistance] forces. Vulnerability is influenced by the nature of the target, i.e., type, size, disposition and composition.” In military terminology, a “soft target” is one that is relatively vulnerable, while a “hard target” is well defended or fortified. A soft target could be a sensitive electrical component, a flammable storage shed, or a person. A hard target might be a roadway, a concrete bunker, or a military installation. Hard targets require more capacity or armament to disable. A battle tank might have lower vulnerability when faced with a resister armed with a Molotov cocktail, but high vulnerability against someone armed with a rocket-propelled grenade.

Effect. Will a successful attack increase the chances of achieving larger goals? What consequences might result, intended and unintended? An attack on a pipeline might result in an oil spill, with collateral damage to life in the immediate vicinity. Escalation of sabotage might result in increased surveillance and repression of the general populace.

Recognizability. How difficult is it to identify the target during the operation, under different conditions of daylight, weather, and season? A brightly lit facility adjacent to a road is easy to locate, even at night, but it may be difficult to pick out a particular oil derrick owned by a particular company amidst acres of wells, or a specific CEO in a crowd of businesspeople.

From this perspective the ideal target would be highly critical (such that damage would cause cascading systems failures), highly vulnerable, very accessible and easy to identify, difficult and time-consuming to repair or replace, and unlikely to cause undesirable side effects. The poorest target would be of low importance for enemy operations but with high risk of negative side effects, hardened, inaccessible and hard to find, and easily replaced. You’ll note that there’s no category for “symbolic value” to the enemy, because the writers of the manual weren’t interested in symbolic targets. They consistently emphasize that successful operations will undermine the morale of the adversary, while increasing morale of the resisters and their supporters. The point is to carry out decisively effective action with the knowledge that such action will have emotional benefits for your side, not to carry out operations that seem emotionally appealing in the hopes that those choices will lead to effective action.

An additional criterion not discussed above would be destructivity. How damaging is the existence of the target to people and other living creatures? A natural gas–burning power plant might be more valuable based on the six criteria, but a coal-fired power plant could be more destructive, making it a higher priority from a practical and symbolic perspective.

It’s rare to find a perfect target. It’s more likely that choosing among targets will require certain trade-offs. A remote enemy installation might be more vulnerable, but it could also be more difficult to access and possibly less important to the adversary. Larger, more critical installations are often better guarded and less vulnerable. Target decisions have to be made in the context of the larger strategy, taking into account tactics and organizational capability.

One of the reasons that the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) has had limited decisive success so far is that its targets have had low criticality and high recuperability. New suburban subdivisions are certainly crimes against ecology, but partially constructed homes are not very important to those in power, and they are relatively replaceable. The effect is primarily symbolic, and it’s hard to find a case in which a construction project has actually been given up because of ELF activity—although many have certainly been made more expensive.

Most often, it seems that resistance targets in North America are chosen on the basis of vulnerability and accessibility, rather than on criticality. It’s easy to walk up to a Walmart window and smash it in the middle of the night or to destroy a Foot Locker storefront during a protest march. Aggressive symbolic attacks do get attention, and if a person’s main indicator of success is a furor on the 10:00 pm news, then igniting the local Burger King is likely to achieve that. But making a decisive impact on systems of power and their basis of support is more difficult to measure. If those in power are clever, they’ll downplay the really damaging actions to make themselves seem invulnerable, but scream bloody murder over a smashed window in order to whip up public opinion. And isn’t that what often happens on the news? If a biotech office is smashed and not a single person injured, the corporate journalists and pundits start pontificating about “violence” and “terrorism.” But if a dozen US soldiers are blown up by insurgents in Iraq, the White House press secretary will calmly repeat over and over that “America” is winning and that these incidents are only minor setbacks.

The Black Liberation Army (BLA) is an example of a group that chose targets in alignment with its goals. The BLA formed as an offshoot (or, some would argue, as a parallel development) of the Black Panther Party. The BLA was not interested in symbolic targets, but in directly targeting those who oppressed people of color. Writes historian Dan Berger: “The BLA’s Program included three components: retaliation against police violence in Black communities; elimination of drugs and drug dealers from Black communities; and helping captured BLA members escape from prison.”11 The BLA essentially believed that aboveground black organizing was doomed because of violent COINTELPRO-style tactics, and that the BPP had become a reformist organization. They argued that “the character of reformism is based on unprincipled class collaboration with our enemy.”12 In part because of their direct personal experience of violent repression at the hands of the state, they did not hesitate to kill white police officers in retaliation for attacks on the black community.

The IRA was also ruthless in their target selection, though they had limited choices in terms of attacking their occupiers. By the time WWII rolled around, resisters in Europe had a wide variety of potential and critical targets for sabotage, such as rail and telegraph lines, and further industrialization has only increased the number of critical mechanical targets, but a century ago, Ireland was hardly mechanized at all. That is why Michael Collins correctly identified British intelligence agents as the most critical and least recuperable targets available. Furthermore, his networks of spies and assassins made those agents—already soft targets—highly accessible. They were a perfect match for all six target selection criteria.

It’s worth noting that these six criteria are not just applicable to targets that are going to be destroyed. The same criteria are used to select “pressure points” on which to exert political force for any strategy of resistance, even one that is explicitly nonviolent. Effective strikes or acts of civil disobedience can exert more political force by disrupting more critical and vulnerable targets—the more accessible, the better.

These criteria for target selection go both ways. Our own resistance movements are targets for those in power, and it’s important to understand our organizations as potential targets. Leaders have often been attacked because they were crucial to the organization. Underground leaders are less accessible, but potentially more vulnerable if they can be isolated from their base of support. And aboveground groups often have better recuperability, because they have a larger pool to draw from and fewer training requirements; recall the waves after waves of civil rights activists willing to be arrested in Birmingham, Alabama.

Anyone who casts their lot with a resistance movement must be prepared for reprisals. Those reprisals will come whether the actionists are aboveground or underground, choosing violence or nonviolence. Many activists, especially from privileged backgrounds, naïvely assume that fighting fair will somehow cause those in power to do the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. The moment that any power structure feels threatened, it will retaliate. It will torture Buddhists and nuns, turn fire hoses on school children, and kill innocent civilians. A brief perusal of Amnesty International’s website will acquaint you with nonviolent protestors around the globe currently being detained and tortured or who have disappeared for simple actions like letter writing or peaceably demonstrating.

This is a reality that privileged people must come to terms with or else any movement risks a rupture when power comes down on actionists. Those retaliations are not anyone’s fault; they are to be expected. Any serious resistance movement should be intellectually and emotionally prepared for the power structure’s response. People are arrested, detained, and killed—often in large numbers—when power strikes back. Those who provide a challenge to power will be faced with consequences, some of them inhumanly cruel. The sooner everyone understands that, the better prepared we all will be to handle it.

Now, having discussed what makes good strategy, how resistance groups organize effectively, and what sort of culture resistance groups need to support them, it is time to take a deep breath. A real deep breath.

This culture is killing the planet. It systematically dispossesses sustainable indigenous cultures. Runaway global warming (and other toxic effects of this culture) could easily lead to billions of human deaths, and indeed the murder of the oceans, and even more, the effective destruction of this planet’s capacity to support life.

The question becomes: what is to be done?

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Twitter wants me to shut up and the right wants me to join them; I don’t think I should have to do either

[Link] by Meghan Murphy / Feminist Current

In August, I was locked out of my Twitter account for the first time. I was told that I had “violated [Twitter’s] rules against hateful conduct” and that I had to delete four tweets in order to gain access to my account again. In this case, the tweets in question named Lisa Kreut, a trans-identified male, as the individual who targetedFeminist Current’s ad revenue and led efforts to have Vancouver Rape Relief blacklisted at the 2016 BCFED Convention.

I deleted the tweets in question, then publicly complained on Twitter, saying, “Hi @Twitter, I’m a journalist. Am I no longer permitted to report facts on your platform?” I was promptly locked out of my account again, told I had to delete the tweet in question, and suspended for 12 hours. I appealed the suspension, as it seemed clear to me that my tweets were not “hateful,” but simply stated the truth, but received no response from Twitter.

On November 15th, my account was locked again. This time, I was told I must delete a tweet from October, saying, “Women aren’t men,” and another, asking, “How are transwomen not men? What is the difference between a man and a transwoman?”

After dutifully deleting the tweets in question in order to gain access to my account again, I tweeted, angrily, “This is fucking bullshit, @twitter. I’m not allowed to say that men aren’t women or ask questions about the notion of transgenderism at all anymore? That a multi-billion dollar company is censoring basic facts and silencing people who ask questions about this dogma is insane.” This tweet went viral, racking up 20,000 likes before Twitter locked my account again on Monday morning, demanding I delete it. This time they offered no explanation at all — not even a vague accusation of “hateful conduct.”

To be fair, it’s not that insane. Multi-billion dollar companies are clearly primarily interested in profit, not free speech or women’s rights. But Twitter is a company that represents itself as a platform for communication, for debate, and for sharing ideas, news, and information. While of course, as a private company, Twitter has the right to limit who participates on the platform and what is said, we, the public, have become accustomed to understanding this social media platform as a relatively free space, wherein everyone from politicians, to celebrities, to pornographers, to activists, to students, to anonymous gamers, to feminists, to men’s rights activists may say what they wish.

Despite my disinterest in seeing graphic pornography on Twitter and in being called a “TERF cunt” who should “drink bleach,” I accept that this is something I am likely to be exposed to on Twitter, and choose to use the platform anyway. Cruel and graphic comments are things, for better or for worse, I am accustomed to and that, frankly, don’t bother me much at this point. If you are a public figure, you do just get used to this kind of thing.

What is insane to me, though, is that while Twitter knowingly permits graphic pornography and death threats on the platform (I have reported countless violent threats, the vast majority of which have gone unaddressed), they won’t allow me to state very basic facts, such as “men aren’t women.” This is hardly an abhorrent thing to say, nor should it be considered “hateful” to ask questions about the notion that people can change sex, or ask for explanations about transgender ideology. These are now, like it or not, public debates — debates that are impacting people’s lives, as legislation and policy are being imposed based on gender identity ideology (that is, the belief that a male person can “identify” as female or vice versa). That trans activists and their allies may find my questions about what “transgender” means or how a person can literally change sex uncomfortable, as they seem not to be able to respond to them, which I can imagine feels uncomfortably embarrassing, feeling uncomfortable is not a good enough reason to censor and silence people.

As a result of these attempts by Twitter to silence me, the right has leapt to support me, or at least engage with me, and criticize Twitter’s nonsensical, unwritten policies (nowhere in their Terms of Service does it say users may not differentiate between men and women or ask questions about transgender ideology). While the left continues to vilify me, and liberal and mainstream media continue to mostly ignore feminist analysis of gender identity, people like Dave Rubin and Ben Shapiro (and hundreds of right wingers and free speech advocates online), and right wing media outlets like the Daily Wire and The Blaze have either attempted to speak with me and understand my perspective, expressed support, or covered this undeniably ridiculous decision on the part of Twitter.

Anger at Twitter’s now ongoing attempts to silence me (I remain locked out of my account, awaiting an appeal process that is likely to result in nothing, and received a second notice today that I have been locked out doubly, on account of a tweet posted in May, criticizing Lisa Kreut for participating in a smear campaign against a local feminist, anti-poverty activist. Kreut has publicly admitted to “knowing someone” at Twitter Safety, so this is unsurprising, perhaps, albeit disconcerting) is not limited to the right or to free speech advocates, of course. There are numerous feminists around the world and unaffiliated members of the general public who see transgender ideology as dangerous (or simply ridiculous), and are critical of the ongoing silencing and smearing of those who challenge it. But one thing that does seem undeniable to me — something that the left should consider carefully, in terms of their own political strategizing — is that while the left seems to have taken to ignoring or refusing to engage with detractors or those who have opinions they disagree with or don’t like, the right continues to be interested in and open to engaging. And I think this is a good thing.

In light of my years of negative experiences trying to engage progressives on issues like pornography, prostitution, male violence, and now gender identity, I’ve unfortunately come to see many of them as cowardly, hypocritical, lacking in political and intellectual integrity, and disingenuous. While of course there are leftists who are critical of the sex trade and trans activism, far too many of those who represent progressives (in North America, in particular) — politicians and leftist political parties, as well as activists and representatives of the labour movement — will not speak out about these issues nor will they defend the women being ripped to shreds for speaking out. Radical feminists are largely on their own on these issues, and don’t have the numbers or the access to media or platforms that liberals, leftists, or the right do. I have personally been able to create and build a large platform, and am grateful for this. But I am being punished harshly for having succeeded in doing so. Twitter and their trans activist insiders seem to be working force me off the platform entirely, the left has shunned me, and Canadian media has yet to engage with my arguments with regard to gender identity ideology and legislation at all. Members of the left here in Canada who agree with me are afraid to be associated with me, and anyone who fails to disassociate is vilified or bullied.

I have been thinking about all this a lot lately, not only due to the debate around transgenderism and consequent no-platforming of critics, but more broadly, in terms of political strategy and the general advancement of good ideas and policy. As such, I want to acknowledge some things I once believed, but have changed my mind about.

I no longer believe leftist positions are necessarily most right or most ethical. I no longer believe everyone on the right is wrong about everything. I do not believe all those on the right necessarily have ill intentions, and suspect that many, like those on the left, believe they are working towards a better world. I don’t believe that it’s productive to position everyone who disagrees with the left as “right wing,” and therefore an enemy. I regret refusing to engage with or trying to understand those who are called “right wing” or “free speechers,” flat out. I think this is the wrong approach. I think it is, in fact, very important that we engage with those we may disagree with on various issues, and don’t think it serves us to ignore, mock, or dismiss people because they don’t share our exact political ideology. I am genuinely interested in speaking with people I may disagree with on various issues and am open to the possibility that we may agree on some ideas and not others. I think we should, as leftists and feminists, challenge and question our own ideas and mantras, rather than become too comfortable in the echo chamber.

What this means is that I will speak to and engage with whomever I like — left, right, and centre. I do not wish to play the game of guilt by association. I am tired of limiting ourselves to those who already share our views, and think this approach is unproductive if we genuinely want to effect change and understand the world around us. I think we need to open up, rather than shut down. I think we should model the behaviour we are asking of others — that is, to hear us out, and to engage with integrity. Even when that means engaging with ideas we don’t like, that we may find abhorrent or wrong or insulting. I don’t want to write people off any more than I want to be written off. And I regret only coming to this conclusion and speaking out about it recently, though I am grateful for my ability to think critically about discourse and strategy, and change my mind accordingly, regardless of who I may anger in the process.

I think sometimes we are afraid to engage genuinely and fairly with new ideas because we are afraid we might agree or change our minds. I suspect that many of those who support trans activism fear just this. That engaging with radical feminist analysis and other critiques of gender identity might leave them forced to admit we have a point.

The truth is that if we want our ideas to be good and coherent and evidence-based and convincing, we need to challenge ourselves and question those ideas, and even be open to the possibility that we might be wrong or that we might change our minds as a result.

Michael Knowles at the Daily Wire says I now must choose to “ally with conservatives, who support free speech and insist that ‘facts don’t care about your feelings,’ or persist with a Left that would annihilate feminism altogether.”

But I don’t think I need to choose either. I choose to think independently and critically. I choose to make strategic and thoughtful decisions about who to ally with. I choose to support free speech and also to reject right wing positions on things like abortion and the free market. I choose to continue to support universal healthcare, social housing, reproductive justice, and a viable welfare system. I choose to continue to oppose exploitative labour practices, privatization, and war. I choose to continue to advocate against male violence against women, sexual exploitation, porn culture, and legislation I consider to be harmful to women and girls. I choose to consider facts and take what I consider to be ethical positions based on those facts, even if those facts and positions don’t fit whatever is considered to be politically correct.

There are people on the right who are bad and who are good, who are smart and who are stupid, who are wrong and who are right, and then there are a million combinations in between. The same can be said of the left. And to pretend things are any more simple than that is, in my opinion, a mistake. While we may not agree on much else, the right and I both agree that transgenderism is nonsense, which may be awkward, but is better than being wrong or dishonest. Speaking of which, I reserve the right to be wrong about all of this, and change my mind accordingly, though I suspect I am not.

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Film Review: “First Reformed” Fails to Deliver on Environmental Themes

[Link] by Max Wilbert / Deep Green Resistance

“And for destroying the destroyers of the earth…” — Revelations, 11-18

The film “First Reformed” has an interesting premise. Toller (Ethan Hawke) is the sad, solitary  pastor of a small church who is asked to help Michael (Philip Ettinger), an activist and member of his congregation, who is struggling.

The two begin a dialogue, and Michael shares a sense of hopelessness in the face of ecological collapse. “It’s 2017,” he says, “and the IPCC said in 2010 that if drastic changes weren’t made by 2015, the entire planet’s ecology might collapse.” He also points out that hundreds of environmental activists are killed worldwide every year.

As Toller grapples with the existential questions brought on by this conversation, Michael’s wife Mary (played by Amanda Seyfried) finds explosives and a suicide vest hidden in the garage, and shows them to Toller, who takes them away. After discovering that his stash gone, Michael commits suicide.

The first major flaw in the film is the perpetuation of the stereotype that being aware of the state of the planet—toxification, species extinction, global warming, the refugee crisis, etc.—is to be consumed by all-encompassing depression. Michael is also described as having “no friends” and being “barely even sociable.”

These ideas are inaccurate and dangerous. The key message is this: if contemplating ecological collapse will drive you to suicide, then the science and discourse around ecological collapse is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. This idea strengthens and validates the culture of denial that dominates popular discourse, and the stereotype that revolutionaries are depressed and alone.

In my experience, the opposite is true: those of us who fight back have rich communities and better mental health than the average. These themes resurface later in the film as well.

Toller is left to provide some small support to Mary, now a widow. But he remains deeply troubled by the statistics and trends on ecological collapse that the film accurately depicts.

The film sets up a tension between Toller’s small, struggling church and a massive nearby congregation—generously funded by a large fossil fuel corporation. The subtext is clear, and meant to examine the tension between religion at its best, as a source of moral guidance and inspiration for freedom fighters such as those on the underground railroad, and at its worst, as a narcotic, as the opiate of the masses and a tool of colonization.

At this point in the film, Toller’s simmering rage, sadness, and emotion waiting to explode become more apparent. Hidden beneath the puritan veneer of a small-town preacher lies alcoholism and a deep sadness. “No sooner do I close my eyes than desolation is upon me,” he says at one point in the film, after recounting the death of his son in Iraq—a war he encouraged his son to join, then later came to see as unjust.

After a promising start, the film takes a nosedive. There are two points on which the ending of the film fails completely. The first is feminist, the second environmental.

I thought, at first, naively, that this film wasn’t going to fall into casting the female lead as a sex object. But, predictably, it did, in a strange scene in which Mary, who is presumed to be in her early 30’s and who is pregnant and recently widowed, asks Toller, in his late 40’s, alcoholic and a minister, to snuggle with her. However, the scene seems to remain platonic, despite its strangeness and improbability.

After this, tortured by the thought of environmental collapse and by the collaboration between the oil company and his fellow Christians, Hawke decides to take the suicide vest (which he has kept) into a public event and blow himself—and the oil executives—up. After seeing Mary unexpectedly arrive, he doffs the explosives, wraps himself in rusty barbed wire, and prepares to commit suicide himself by drinking drain cleaner. Then Mary comes into the room, her and Toller begin kissing, and film ends abruptly.

What the fuck?

This is why I hate Hollywood and don’t really watch movies. Provided with a fascinating topic and a talented cast, all the filmmaker can muster is this emotional trainwreck, this pointlessness.

As is so common in popular culture, the artist (the director, in this case) confuses emotional turmoil with deep meaning. The final message might as well be a line Toller reads from his bible: “…the knowledge of the emptiness of all things, which can only be filled by the knowledge of our savior.”

Both of Toller’s final approaches—the suicide vest and the barbed wire—represent the self-flagellation of total helplessness. They are only personal solutions, not social or moral or political ones.

Revolutionaries don’t need this shit. We need cultural products—art, music, film, books, poetry, etc.—which nurture our resistance spirit, encourage our hearts, and teach us about healthy lives and effective ways of fighting empire.

Don’t waste your time on this film, or any other bullshit coming out of Hollywood.

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Guide to Private and Secure Operating Systems

[Link] by Max Wilbert / Deep Green Resistance

We live inside an unprecedented surveillance state. Government and corporations monitor all non-encrypted digital communications for the purposes of political control and profit.

Political dissidents who wish to challenge capitalism need to learn to use more secure methods for communication, research, and other digital tasks. This guide is aimed at serious dissidents and revolutionaries. It is not aimed at the everyday activist, who will likely find these practices to be overkill.

Privacy vs. Security

It is important to understand that privacy and security are two different things. Privacy is related to anonymity. Security protects from eavesdropping, but does not necessarily anonymize.

To use an analogy: privacy means that the government doesn’t know who sent the message, but can read the contents. Security means they know who sent the message, but cannot read it. This is a simplified understanding, but it’s important to distinguish between the two.

In general, most aboveground activists who are already operating in the public sphere prioritize security. Underground operators and revolutionaries generally prioritize anonymity, since being unmasked and identified is the primary danger.  Of course, this is a generalization. Both security and privacy are important for anyone involved in anti-capitalist resistance.

Note that these tools require some relatively advanced technological skills. However, it’s worth learning to use these tools. Whonix is probably the easiest to use for a beginner.

Operating Systems

An operating system, or OS, is the basic software running on a computing device. Windows and Mac OS are the most common operating systems. However, Linux is the most secure family of operating systems. This guide will look at operating systems for desktop computer use.

The following information is copied from the websites for these projects.

TAILS

Tails is a live system that aims to preserve your privacy and anonymity. It helps you to use the Internet anonymously and circumvent censorship almost anywhere you go and on any computer but leaving no trace unless you ask it to explicitly.

It is a complete operating system designed to be used from a USB stick or a DVD independently of the computer’s original operating system. It is Free Software and based on Debian GNU/Linux.

Tails comes with several built-in applications pre-configured with security in mind: web browser, instant messaging client, email client, office suite, image and sound editor, etc.

Tails relies on the Tor anonymity network to protect your privacy online:

  • all software is configured to connect to the Internet through Tor
  • if an application tries to connect to the Internet directly, the connection is automatically blocked for security.

Tor is an open and distributed network that helps defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security.

Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location.

Using Tor you can:

  • be anonymous online by hiding your location,
  • connect to services that would be censored otherwise;
  • resist attacks that block the usage of Tor using circumvention tools such as bridges.

To learn more about Tor, see the official Tor website, particularly the following pages:

Tor overview: Why we need Tor

Tor overview: How does Tor work

Who uses Tor?

Understanding and Using Tor — An Introduction for the Layman

Using Tails on a computer doesn’t alter or depend on the operating system installed on it. So you can use it in the same way on your computer, a friend’s computer, or one at your local library. After shutting down Tails, the computer will start again with its usual operating system.

Tails is configured with special care to not use the computer’s hard-disks, even if there is some swap space on them. The only storage space used by Tails is in RAM, which is automatically erased when the computer shuts down. So you won’t leave any trace on the computer either of the Tails system itself or what you used it for. That’s why we call Tails “amnesic”.

This allows you to work with sensitive documents on any computer and protects you from data recovery after shutdown. Of course, you can still explicitly save specific documents to another USB stick or external hard-disk and take them away for future use.

https://tails.boum.org/

Whonix

Whonix is a desktop operating system designed for advanced security and privacy. Whonix mitigates the threat of common attack vectors while maintaining usability. Online anonymity is realized via fail-safe, automatic, and desktop-wide use of the Tor network. A heavily reconfigured Debian base is run inside multiple virtual machines, providing a substantial layer of protection from malware and IP address leaks. Commonly used applications are pre-installed and safely pre-configured for immediate use. The user is not jeopardized by installing additional applications or personalizing the desktop. Whonix is under active development and is the only operating system designed to be run inside a VM and paired with Tor.

Whonix utilizes Tor’s free software, which provides an open and distributed relay network to defend against network surveillance. Connections through Tor are enforced. DNS leaks are impossible, and even malware with root privileges cannot discover the user’s real IP address. Whonix is available for all major operating systems. Most commonly used applications are compatible with the Whonix design.

https://www.whonix.org/

Qubes OS

Qubes OS is a security-oriented operating system (OS). The OS is the software that runs all the other programs on a computer. Some examples of popular OSes are Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS. Qubes is free and open-source software (FOSS). This means that everyone is free to use, copy, and change the software in any way. It also means that the source code is openly available so others can contribute to and audit it.

Why is OS security important?

Most people use an operating system like Windows or OS X on their desktop and laptop computers. These OSes are popular because they tend to be easy to use and usually come pre-installed on the computers people buy. However, they present problems when it comes to security. For example, you might open an innocent-looking email attachment or website, not realizing that you’re actually allowing malware (malicious software) to run on your computer. Depending on what kind of malware it is, it might do anything from showing you unwanted advertisements to logging your keystrokes to taking over your entire computer. This could jeopardize all the information stored on or accessed by this computer, such as health records, confidential communications, or thoughts written in a private journal. Malware can also interfere with the activities you perform with your computer. For example, if you use your computer to conduct financial transactions, the malware might allow its creator to make fraudulent transactions in your name.

Aren’t antivirus programs and firewalls enough?

Unfortunately, conventional security approaches like antivirus programs and (software and/or hardware) firewalls are no longer enough to keep out sophisticated attackers. For example, nowadays it’s common for malware creators to check to see if their malware is recognized by any signature-based antivirus programs. If it’s recognized, they scramble their code until it’s no longer recognizable by the antivirus programs, then send it out. The best of these programs will subsequently get updated once the antivirus programmers discover the new threat, but this usually occurs at least a few days after the new attacks start to appear in the wild. By then, it’s too late for those who have already been compromised. More advanced antivirus software may perform better in this regard, but it’s still limited to a detection-based approach. New zero-day vulnerabilities are constantly being discovered in the common software we all use, such as our web browsers, and no antivirus program or firewall can prevent all of these vulnerabilities from being exploited.

How does Qubes OS provide security?

Qubes takes an approach called security by compartmentalization, which allows you to compartmentalize the various parts of your digital life into securely isolated compartments called qubes.

This approach allows you to keep the different things you do on your computer securely separated from each other in isolated qubes so that one qube getting compromised won’t affect the others. For example, you might have one qube for visiting untrusted websites and a different qube for doing online banking. This way, if your untrusted browsing qube gets compromised by a malware-laden website, your online banking activities won’t be at risk. Similarly, if you’re concerned about malicious email attachments, Qubes can make it so that every attachment gets opened in its own single-use disposable qube. In this way, Qubes allows you to do everything on the same physical computer without having to worry about a single successful cyberattack taking down your entire digital life in one fell swoop.

Moreover, all of these isolated qubes are integrated into a single, usable system. Programs are isolated in their own separate qubes, but all windows are displayed in a single, unified desktop environment with unforgeable colored window borders so that you can easily identify windows from different security levels. Common attack vectors like network cards and USB controllers are isolated in their own hardware qubes while their functionality is preserved through secure networking, firewalls, and USB device management. Integrated file and clipboard copy and paste operations make it easy to work across various qubes without compromising security. The innovative Template system separates software installation from software use, allowing qubes to share a root filesystem without sacrificing security (and saving disk space, to boot). Qubes even allows you to sanitize PDFs and images in a few clicks. Users concerned about privacy will appreciate the integration of Whonix with Qubes, which makes it easy to use Tor securely, while those concerned about physical hardware attacks will benefit from Anti Evil Maid.

How does Qubes OS compare to using a “live CD” OS?

Booting your computer from a live CD (or DVD) when you need to perform sensitive activities can certainly be more secure than simply using your main OS, but this method still preserves many of the risks of conventional OSes. For example, popular live OSes (such as Tails and other Linux distributions) are still monolithic in the sense that all software is still running in the same OS. This means, once again, that if your session is compromised, then all the data and activities performed within that same session are also potentially compromised.

How does Qubes OS compare to running VMs in a conventional OS?

Not all virtual machine software is equal when it comes to security. You may have used or heard of VMs in relation to software like VirtualBox or VMware Workstation. These are known as “Type 2” or “hosted” hypervisors. (The hypervisor is the software, firmware, or hardware that creates and runs virtual machines.) These programs are popular because they’re designed primarily to be easy to use and run under popular OSes like Windows (which is called the host OS, since it “hosts” the VMs). However, the fact that Type 2 hypervisors run under the host OS means that they’re really only as secure as the host OS itself. If the host OS is ever compromised, then any VMs it hosts are also effectively compromised.

By contrast, Qubes uses a “Type 1” or “bare metal” hypervisor called Xen. Instead of running inside an OS, Type 1 hypervisors run directly on the “bare metal” of the hardware. This means that an attacker must be capable of subverting the hypervisor itself in order to compromise the entire system, which is vastly more difficult.

Qubes makes it so that multiple VMs running under a Type 1 hypervisor can be securely used as an integrated OS. For example, it puts all of your application windows on the same desktop with special colored borders indicating the trust levels of their respective VMs. It also allows for things like secure copy/paste operations between VMs, securely copying and transferring files between VMs, and secure networking between VMs and the Internet.

How does Qubes OS compare to using a separate physical machine?

Using a separate physical computer for sensitive activities can certainly be more secure than using one computer with a conventional OS for everything, but there are still risks to consider. Briefly, here are some of the main pros and cons of this approach relative to Qubes:

Pros

  • Physical separation doesn’t rely on a hypervisor. (It’s very unlikely that an attacker will break out of Qubes’ hypervisor, but if one were to manage to do so, one could potentially gain control over the entire system.)
  • Physical separation can be a natural complement to physical security. (For example, you might find it natural to lock your secure laptop in a safe when you take your unsecure laptop out with you.)

Cons

  • Physical separation can be cumbersome and expensive, since we may have to obtain and set up a separate physical machine for each security level we need.
  • There’s generally no secure way to transfer data between physically separate computers running conventional OSes. (Qubes has a secure inter-VM file transfer system to handle this.)
  • Physically separate computers running conventional OSes are still independently vulnerable to most conventional attacks due to their monolithic nature.
  • Malware which can bridge air gaps has existed for several years now and is becoming increasingly common.

(For more on this topic, please see the paper Software compartmentalization vs. physical separation.)

Get Qubes

Qubes OS is free to use, can run , and integrates with Whonix for secure web browsing and internet usage via Tor.

https://www.qubes-os.org/

Summary

  • TAILS is a “live” OS that runs from a USB stick or DVD, and can be used to browse anonymously from any computer. It doesn’t save files or history; it is designed mainly for ephemeral use.
  • Whonix is an OS made to run as a virtual machine, and provide security and anonymity for web browsing by routing all connections via the Tor browser.
  • Qubes OS is made to use as a permanent OS, and uses compartmentalization for security. Whonix is automatically installed inside Qubes. Used by Edward Snowden.

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Contact Deep Green Resistance News Service

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Further news and recommended reading / podcasts

Resistance Radio w/ Graham Linelan – December 9, 2018

Resistance Radio w/ Harriet Wistrich – December 2, 2018

Resistance Radio w/ Benjamin Vogt – November 25, 2018

Resistance Radio w/ Breanne Fahs – November 18, 2018

Resistance Radio w/ George Wuerthner – November 11, 2018

Resistance Radio w/ Ron Sutherland – November 4, 2018

Another End of the World is Possible – Last Born in the Wilderness

Mental Health Under Late Capitalism

Green Tech FAQ

Gas Fracking Industry Using Using Military Psychological Warfare Tactics and Personnel In U.S. Communities

Whose land do you live on?

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Guide to taking action

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I’m sick and tired of middle class liberals telling people to compromise. Compromise has led us to where we are today: on the verge of ecological collapse and the genocide of the human species (if you believe the science). Incessant compromise will kill us all.

–      Vince Emanuele

 

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UN, Indigenous Leaders Condemn Philippines For Placing Special Rapporteur on “Terrorist Hit List”

UN, Indigenous Leaders Condemn Philippines For Placing Special Rapporteur on “Terrorist Hit List”

     by Terri Hansen / Cultural Survival

What do you do when a country places a United Nations Special Rapporteur on a terrorist hit list?

If you’re the UN, you hit back.

A petition filed February 21 in a Manila court by apparently unstable President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines labels Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples ‘a terrorist.’

Human Rights Watch saw the petition this week and called it “a virtual hit list.”

The legal petition accuses 600 people including Victoria Tauli-Corpuz  and Joan Carling, co-convener of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group on Sustainable Development, and several other Indigenous human rights defenders as being affiliated with “terrorist and outlawed organizations, associations and/or group of persons” connected to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA).

“There’s a long history in the Philippines of the state security forces and pro-government militias assassinating people labelled as NPA members or supporters,” Human Rights Watch Philippines researcher Carlos Condehe said.

“These attacks cannot go unanswered. The U.N. Human Rights Council must take a position,” UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein told news reporters on Friday. “This sort of comment really is unacceptable, unacceptable.”

Although Zeid bluntly stated the president of the Philippines “is in need of a psychiatric evaluation,” there are serious concerns for their safety.

Tauli-Corpuz, a member of the Kankanaey Igorot people in the Philippines, believes she was targeted for statements she made on December 27, 2017 to the Human Rights Council. The Council has entrusted her to provide reports of alleged violations of Indigenous people’s rights worldwide.

Tauli-Corpuz called the allegations, “baseless, malicious and irresponsible,” and added she was consulting with lawyers on legal courses of action to clear her name and make accountable “those who put my life and security at risk.”

Human rights organizations have charged the Philippines army with harassing and killing the Indigenous Lumad people on Mindanao Island who have been caught in the middle of a communist insurgency. The terrorist list is the most recent move by the Philippines in a long conflict between defenders of Indigenous Peoples’ rights and the Duterte administration, the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) says.

Under Duterte’s administration, Philippine Indigenous Peoples’ organizations have recorded at least 62 illegal arrests, 21 political prisoners, 20 incidents of forced evacuation affecting 21,966 Indigenous Peoples and more than a hundred others facing trumped-up charges and forcible closure of 34 Lumad schools from July 2016 to December 2017.

“The Government of the Philippines regularly and increasingly threatens and harasses Indigenous Peoples,” Julie Koch, executive director of IWGIA said in a statement. “We are extremely worried about finding some of our long-term partners on the list. We fear for their personal safety.”

One of IWGIA’s partners on the list is Cordillera Peoples Alliance, with co-founder Joan Carling and several other members named. Carling said she expects to take legal action, and as well expects the Philippine government to “ensure the physical safety of those of us who are listed in the petition, as called for by UN experts.”

Targeting Tauli-Corpuz provoked outrage among her fellow rapporteurs.

“We are shocked that the Special Rapporteur is being targeted because of her work defending the rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and Catalina Devandas Aguilar, chair of the Coordination Committee of the Special Procedures.

The international human rights and Indigenous community is expressing solidarity with Tauli-Corpuz and Carling, while condemning the Philippine government.

“Vicky is an ardent advocate for Indigenous rights around the world, not a terrorist,” Amazon Watch executive director Leila Salazar-López told Cultural Survival. She said the accusations against her were very worrisome. “We will stand with her as she has stood with Indigenous Peoples and land defenders for decades.”

Patricia Gualinga, Kichwa women’s leader from the community of Sarayaku, Ecuadorian Amazon told Cultural Survival, “I stand in solidarity with my sister Vicky.”

“When a woman is clear in her defense of women’s and Indigenous Peoples’ rights, authoritarian governments use their power to criminalize, threaten, and persecute us through the law, as has happened here in the Amazon,” she said.

The growing list of those expressing solidarity with Tauli-Corpuz and Carling include the Cordillera Peoples Alliance, the Cultural Conservancy, the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples, Tero Mustonen of Snowchange in Finland, Tebtebba, Indigenous Climate Action Network, Luisa Maffi of Terralingua, Tarcilla Rivera Zea and Jesús Fuentes as members of United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and a growing list of others as they learn the news.

The Editorial Director at ČálliidLágádus – ForfatternesForlag said, “I am horrified that human rights defenders like UN Special Rrapporteur for Indigenous Peoples Human Rights are being targeted like this. Vicky is being accused for terrorism by Filipino authorities. This brave, warm-hearted, clear-spoken woman is a defender of humanity, no terrorist!”

Tauli-Corpuz is one of the Indigenous leaders who helped draft the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 1993 and then lobbied for it for more than 20 years until the UN General Assembly finally adopted the treaty in 2007.

She has founded and managed various nonprofits that raise awareness about social ills, climate change, and the advancement of Indigenous Peoples’ and women’s rights. In 1996, she founded Tebtebba, an international organization that promotes Indigenous Peoples’ perspectives on key issues such as human rights, sustainable development, climate change, and the environment.

Related: Cultural Survival Stands in Solidarity with Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Joan Carling in the Wake of Unfounded Terrorist Accusations

— Terri Hansen is a member of the Winnebago Tribe. She has covered Indigenous Peoples’ issues since 1993. Hansen’s focus is science and the environment. She has reported on climate change in tribal communities since 2008, and on Indigenous participation in the annual UN climate summits since the COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009. Follow her on Twitter @TerriHansen.

Agriculture and Autonomy in the Middle East

Featured image:  Ercan Ayboğa

     by  / Local Futures

The Mesopotamian Ecology Movement (MEM) has been at the heart of Rojava’s democratic revolution since its inception. The Movement grew out of single-issue campaigns against dam construction, climate change, and deforestation, and in 2015 went from being a small collection of local ecological groups to a full-fledged network of “ecology councils” that are active in every canton of Rojava, and in neighboring Turkey as well. Its mission, as one of its most prominent founding members, Ercan Ayboğa, says, is to “strengthen the ecological character of the Kurdish freedom movement [and] the Kurdish women’s movement.”

It’s not an easy process. Neoliberal policies, war, and climate change have made for an impressive roster of challenges. Crop diversity has been undermined due to longstanding subsidies for monocultures. Stocks of native seeds are declining. The region has been hit by trade embargoes from Turkey, Iraq, and the central Syrian government, and villages have been subject to forced displacement and depopulation. Groundwater reserves are diminishing, and climate change is reducing rainfall. Many wells and farms were destroyed by the self-described Islamic State (ISIS), and many farmers have been killed by mines. Much of the region is without electricity. And there has been an influx of refugees from the rest of Syria, fleeing civil war.

As MEM sees it, the solutions to these overlapping problems must be holistic and systemic. Ercan gives an impressive rundown of MEM’s priorities: Decreasing Rojava’s dependence on imports, returning to traditional water-conserving cultivation techniques, advocating for ecological policy-making at the municipal level, promoting local crops and livestock and traditional construction methods, organizing educational activities, working against destructive and exploitative “investment” and infrastructure projects such as dams and mines — in short, “the mobilization of an ecological resistance” towards anything guilty of “commercializing the waters, commodifying the land, controlling nature and people, and promoting the consumption of fossil fuels.”

In 2016, MEM published a declaration of its social and ecological aims, and it is a thing of beauty. “We must defend,” it says, “the democratic nation against the nation-state; the communal economy against capitalism, with its quick-profit-seeking logic and monopolism and large industries; organic agriculture, ecological villages and cities, ecological industry, and alternative energy and technology against the agricultural and energy policies imposed by capitalist modernity.”

Getting children involved in all of this is critical. Schools in Rojava teach ecology as a fundamental principle. In 2016, with the support of Slow Food International and the Rojava Ministry of Water and Agriculture, MEM helped build a series of school gardens in villages around the city of Kobane, in order to provide a “laboratory” for children to learn about the region’s biodiversity and how to care for it. These gardens are growing fruit trees, figs, and pomegranates, instead of corn and wheat monocultures. Some have been planted on land that was once virtually destroyed by ISIS. In Rojava, even cultivation comes inherently infused with a spirit of resistance. “We grew up on this land and we haven’t abandoned it,” says Mustafa, a teacher whose school was one of those to receive a new garden in 2016. “As a people of farmers and livestock breeders, we have always tended the crops using our own techniques, which are thousands of years old.” As the MEM declaration says, “Bringing ecological consciousness and sensibility to the organized social sphere and to educational institutions is as vital as organizing our own assemblies.”

The spirit of resistance is as alive in the realm of society and economics as it is on the land. The cooperative economy in Rojava is booming. Michel Knapp, a longtime activist in the Kurdish freedom movement and co-author of the book Revolution in Rojava, observes that most cooperatives in Rojava are “small, with some five to ten members producing textiles, agricultural products and groceries, but there are some bigger cooperatives too, like a cooperative near Amûde that guarantees most of the subsistence for over 2,000 households and is even able to sell on the market.”

The government of Rojava is democratic and decentralized, with residential communes and local councils giving people autonomy and control over decisions that affect their lives. Municipal-level government bodies are systematically integrated into the operations of MEM, in a one-of-a-kind partnership between the public and nonprofit spheres. And the prison system is being radically reformed, with local “peace committees” paying attention to the social and political dimensions of crime in passing judgment. Most cities contain no more than one or two dozen prisoners, according to Ercan.

And to top it all, women have taken a leading role in every facet of the revolution. Women’s cooperatives are a common sight in Rojava, as are women’s councils, women’s committees, and women’s security forces. Women’s ecovillages have been built both in Rojava and across the border in Turkish Kurdistan, aimed at helping victims of domestic violence and trauma. Patriarchy is just one more aspect of the neoliberal program being cast aside in Rojava, on the road towards building what MEM describes as “a radical democratic, communal, ecological, women-liberated society.”

This piece was originally published on Medium as part of Local Futures’ Planet Local webseries.

Read about other holistic ecological initiatives from around the world on our Planet Local: Ecology page.

Dig deeper into Rojava and the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement on the following pages (the source material for much of this piece):

Sean Keller is Local Futures’ Media and Outreach Coordinator, and editor of Planet Local, an online ‘library’ showcasing grassroots localization projects around the world. He studied Anthropology and Russian at Vassar College, and spends his free time reading and writing speculative fiction.