What is Deep Green Resistance?

The organization Deep Green Resistance has existed for nearly a decade, since the book was released in 2011. For this piece, we look at four different answers to the question: “What is Deep Green Resistance?”

Ben Warner: What is Deep Green Resistance?

DGR is survival. We want to survive and we want the rest of the living work to survive too. You wanna live right?

Right now life is barely surviving. Right now the living world is being exterminated. What’s exterminating it? A group of people who live in densely populated, ever-expanding colonies. They get their food and other resources, most of which they don’t actually need, from far away places. Do you think they care about the other living beings in these places? Do you think they consider the damage their resource extraction does? Many of them don’t know about it because they can’t see it, some of them are too busy living to even think about it and the rest are too busy making money to stop it. So agriculture, mining and other forms of resource extraction continue destroying habitat, poisoning land and killing our kin.

And what about their poisonous toxic waste? Where do they dispose of it? Not where they live of course. They pile it up in far away places or bury it or drop it in the sea or sell it to the poor. Do you think they consider the harm this does? Their shit is piling up all over the world and they don’t care enough to stop. This is what happens when you live in one place, get your sustenance in another, and dispose of your waste elsewhere.

This is our culture. You can call it civilisation, or a city based way of living, or a culture of empire. Whatever you call it, we don’t think it’s a good idea. Life cannot survive this for much longer and neither can we because cities are still expanding, resource extraction is still increasing and our poisonous waste is piling up in the sea, on the land and in the very air that we breathe.

You want your children to live and grow in a world that is flourishing and full of life? That’s what we want too. We want to live and we want the other communities of life that allow us to live to survive too. So we are building a culture of resistance because time is running out for life and we are still alive.

We are an above ground movement that is willing to defend the relentless attacks on life. We are also willing to admit that defense is not enough. We need other brave, moral, and strategically aware people to form underground groups and fight this culture before it wipes out life. If we don’t we will die and so will nearly everything else from bacteria to blue whales.

If you want to live with others you need to enter into a relationship with them. You need to love them. Control is not love. Abuse is not love. Domination is not love. This culture does not live with, or even on, land it occupies. Like any invading force it is sucking its host dry. Both the parasite and the host are doomed in this type of interaction.

We want to end this culture of death and destruction, so we are no longer ashamed or embarrassed to be human. We want to live with land, rivers, trees, forests, mountains and all living communities that are both a requirement for and a functioning part of our own lives and happiness.

We want to swim in and drink clean water. We want to sing and breathe in fresh air. We want to live and love on flourishing land. We want our children and your children and all children to do it too. What are you prepared to do to help us build this future?

Trinity La Fey: For those in the movement

In a room full of DGR members, I don’t need to tell you why you are here, or what needs to be done.

We all have our lists of loved ones and our unspeakable lists, the ones we don’t write down. While there is nothing I can add to or subtract from them, I start here because our problems are relational. Some of our big family is terminally ill with forgetfulness, an incurable, devouring madness that puts the rest of our family in immediate mortal danger.

Maybe we have varying ideas about what needs to be done, or how it should be done. Inside the DEW strategy, there is plenty of wiggle room for differing philosophies, which will change the nature of any action. As much to myself as to anyone else, I offer three reminders I use to keep me from succumbing to the poison.

Please be respectful.

We are, none of us, always right and good and true, all the time. We have thoughts and ideas and beliefs, but we are subject to our environments: bodily, social and earthly. With humility about the reach of our visions, I ask us to strive to remember that sparring partners bow to each other before commencing. We would not have chosen our targets or forces to combat if they were not powerful, capable, and in their strengths, so worthy of our attention.

Please be bold.

With that in mind, our convictions are there because industrial civilization will destroy our only home and everyone in it if we do not stop them. So we must stop them. We must.

Please be careful.

With that in mind, there is more than one word to describe bravery, and they are all less flattering from there. Protect yourself. It is very expensive to bail you out of jail. County is no fun and it gets less fun from there. Be protective of your loved ones. Bailing your family and friends out of jail is very expensive and much easier than burying them or knowing that they suffer. To whatever extent you can, practice security culture like a religion of daily ritual: there is an inner sanctum and an outer one. We really cannot afford to lose, neither can our loved ones. Let’s win then. Let us win well.

Max Wilbert: What is Deep Green Resistance?

First of all, I want to apologize. I’ve been in the wilderness the last 7 days. I’m grizzled, dirty, have cuts on my face and bags under my eyes. I was up at 2am yesterday, hiked 20 miles, then traveled for 10 hours to get home. Needless to say, I’m not at peak mental function right now, but I’d like to take a stab at answering the question anyway.

It’s an incredibly important question, because this is the movement I have dedicated my life to for the past decade. Not out of a misplaced sense of loyalty, or some sort of hero worship or cult following. The reason I’m involved in Deep Green Resistance is because I believe in what we are trying to do. I believe in the mission of this organization, I believe in the world we are working towards.

We are living in an era of cascading ecological collapses. We are witnessing the death of the oceans, the climate falling into chaos, soil desertification and increased wildfires sweeping across the world. We’re seeing hurricanes, drought—whatever sort of unnatural disaster you think of, almost every one of them is getting worse – driven by this industrial civilization that we live in.

This culture is churning out plastic, cars, endless streams of products emerging from factories with no thought to the consequences. In a healthy culture, before you make any decisions, you have a conversation about them. You talk to other people in the community, and you ask “is it a good idea for us to do this?” That’s not a conversation that happens in this culture, which instead says “if it can be done, it will be done.”

That’s why the idea of “progress” is like a god in this culture, and it’s a death cult that is worshiping this god of progress, because anything will be sacrificed to it: the oceans, the mountains, the rivers, the grasslands, the forests, the climate. The future of all generations of life on this planet is being sacrificed to this death god of progress.

Deep Green Resistance wants to stop this. We’re some of the people who are willing to be honest about what is happening, to look unflinchingly at the reality of industrial civilization, this culture of empire, which is eating through every biome on the planet. And we’re willing to talk about fighting back. We’re not the old environmental movement, that’s purely dedicated to saving one wild place here,  and one wild place there. While that is good and honorable work, it’s not enough. We want to stop this entire death machine, this omnicidal industrial civilization. We have a strategy to do this, and we are working to carry out this strategy.

It’s not an easy task we have set ourselves. As I said, I have been working on this for a decade and I expect to continue working on it until the day that I die. But it is the most important work that can be done in the world today, and that is why I am here.

Trinity La Fey: What is Deep Green Resistance?

DGR is an organization that advocates for the living world. It recognizes that organizing people in hierarchies of civilization, by design, destroys life on the planet down to the bacteria. While DGR is itself an aboveground organization, members acknowledge that inside our socio-political climate, only an underground resistance has the capacity to do this and they need our support.

DEW, the strategy endorsed by DGR, draws on successful aspects of guerilla tactics and military strategies, from across our known global history, to form a cohesive plan of action to instigate and perpetuate cascading systems failure of the interlocking systems of civilized infrastructure, while laying the spiritual, material and social groundwork for its replacement with regional, land-based, carbon sequestering ways of life that are themselves compatible with planetary life.

That includes isolated cells in tiers of increasing trust within a greater network of the dedicated who can and will do what needs to be done.

Understanding that industrial civilization is genocidal and will, if unfettered, extinguish all life, it is urgent that those well-organized and money-disciplined infrastructures (commerce, fuel, communications, the electrical grid, etc.) be dismantled.

In the face of Earth-scale destruction, considerations for those owning, operating and defending such institutions may not be allowed to interfere with the ultimate DGR goal: a living planet.
This is a heavy policy, demanding resolve and a clear, sober vision of the many grave repercussion that may result from potentially dangerous actions.

To MEND a creature or habitat from injury or infection, the harm must first be removed.

It is up to the aboveground structures to protect the underground actors from complete social condemnation and to continually push for less murderous and deadly solutions to be possible and preferably legal. It is for the underground to help keep a living planet inevitable.

To learn more, visit the Deep Green Resistance website.

4 thoughts on “What is Deep Green Resistance?”

  1. Great series of essays on the what, who, and why of radical environmentalism. Max’s comment in particular sums up the struggle. I’m taking screenshots of the 3 paragraphs beginning with, “We are living in an era of cascading ecological collapses,” and sending them to everyone I know. It’s time for civilization to wake up to the realities of living as global parasites, worshipping our cancerous gods of growth, development, profit, and progress.

    Marx preached “from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs.” The communist societies that arose from that concept largely betrayed it, mired in corrupt dictatorships, and their own hypocritical versions of human supremacy.

    But the “from each…to each” concept is a good one — if only it were meant for the good of the biosphere, instead of the greed of the people. What we need today is a new socialist revolution, but one dedicated to liberating the planet, rather than the proletariat. We need a culture and an economy dedicated to making only what we and the Earth really need, as opposed to every useless gizmo we can market, sell, and throw away.

    That’s my rant for the day. Now here are some underground ideas for shutting down infrastructure, AND for making people start to think about the price we and the world all pay for our frivolous, ecocidal “way of life.”

    1) Since airlines are one of the largest, most useless, and most easily dismissed excesses of modern living, it’s a good industry to shut down as a starter toward responsible living. We did well without it after 9/11, and we’ve done well without most of it during the pandemic. The world of my grandparents did well without it altogether, for the simple reason that there were born before the Wright Brothers had their nifty little idea about giant aluminum seagulls that shit on everything.

    Eco-monkey-wrenchers, for instance, could publish a public warning that sky blue box kites will be randolmly sent aloft, tied to trees along the approaches to commercial airports — and then do it.
    When I was a kid, I once launched a box kite on a mile of string, flying so high we could see it from my uncle’s farm, 5 miles away. If it had been light blue, of course, no one would have seen it at all. And nothing ruins a jet engine’s day like inhaling a box kite.

    2) Another useless industry with a huge carbon footprint is cattle ranching. And nothing ruins a cattle rancher’s day like downed fences. The cattle-raising world could be seriously hampered by a network of deep green monkey-wrenchers with wire cutters. And they wouldn’t even need a light breeze to get their efforts off the ground.

    In any such effort, of course, publicity is needed to alert everyone — not only to the fact that it’s happening, but why. We don’t want to destroy jobs — just the destructive jobs that never should have been there to begin with.

    In all cases, of course, monkey-wrenchers must work in ways that don’t directly put lives at risk. One trashed engine won’t crash an airliner. And wandering cows along a country road shouldn’t lead to accidents — especially when people are warned in advance.

  2. Humans are different than all other species in that we have to rely on our brains to survive. Those large brains with their many folds and the intellect and self-consciousness that they devoped, combined with opposable thumbs and the ability to walk upright, make humans by far the most powerful beings on the planet and substantially different from everything else.

    Therefore, humans need to stop obsessing on the physical/natural world if they want to stop harming it. Our focus should be on expanding our consciousness, and we should leave the physical/natural world alone as much as possible. That’s the only ultimate solution here.

  3. I am curious to know your take on that consciousness expansion you mention, because it is to my understanding that for such thing to occur one must first stop doing what ails such growth. Harm done to our physical reality is not the whole enchilada but it is definitely a part of it. The expansion of collective consciousness is also something that does not happen just because everybody goes full Zarathustra one day. We can talk, meditate, perhaps we somehow reach enlightenment (whatever that means), and yet your immediate reality (which is bound by both time and space) is still being torn apart and Jeff Bezzos or Elon Musk do not really give a shit if you are working on your consciousness today.

    Education is slow, bullets are fast.

    Would love to read your take on that.

  4. @Straquez
    If humans evolve mentally and spiritually in a major way, they would not continue to destroy the natural world; people like Bezos and Musk would not exist or, if they did, they wouldn’t act like they do now.

    The rich & powerful are a tiny minority. If the vast majority of people were to evolve in the way that I propose, there would be no more rich or powerful people, because those are traits of ego, materialism, and desire, all of which would be evolved beyond. People who act in service of those things would be shunned as outcasts and would not survive.

    If you’re asking me how we get there, I don’t know, and no one does that I know of. When I studied spiritual disciplines I was taught that “they’ll come when they’re ready.” Unfortunately, humans are so overpopulated, and live so unnaturally and harmfully, that the Earth and the life on it can’t wait. Again, I have no answer, but I do the best I can to live properly, have proper respect and love for the Earth and the life on it, and to convince others to prioritize this too.

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