Derrick Jensen: A Deep Terror of Responsibility

Derrick Jensen: A Deep Terror of Responsibility

Editor’s note: This excerpt comes from Volume 2 of Derrick Jensen’s 2005 book “Endgame,” a long-form exploration of the destruction of the natural world and the moral questions regarding eco-sabotage in defense of the planet. In this segment of the book, Jensen responds to common pacifist talking points. His conclusion is not that violence is desirable, but rather that the complexity of a world filled with atrocities and competing narratives about them fills many people with a deep terror of the responsibility that accompanies facing these realities and choosing to take consequential action.

by Derrick Jensen

We must, we are told, visualize world peace. My first thought on hearing this is always that the abused spouse is so often told that if she can just love her husband enough, he might change. Meanwhile her daughter may very well be wishing she gets a pony for Christmas, but that isn’t going to happen either. My second thought on hearing this is always that visualizing world peace is essentially the semi-secular new age equivalent of praying.

All that said, I have to admit that I actually am a huge fan of visualization. I just normally call it daydreaming. When I was a high jumper in college, I used to more or less constantly picture myself floating over the bar. I’d do this in the shower, driving, walking to classes, certainly all through my classes. Later when I coached high jumping I used to guide my students through visualizations as a routine part of our practice. Now I constantly daydream about my writing. And more importantly I visualize people fighting back. I visualize people knocking down dams. I visualize them taking down the oil and electrical infrastructures. I visualize wild salmon returning in greater numbers every year. I visualize migratory songbirds coming back. I even visualize passenger pigeons returning. So I guess I don’t have a problem with visualizing world peace, so long as people are also working for it. Except that as I made clear early on, civilization requires the importation of resources, which means it requires the use of force to maintain itself. This means that if these folks who are visualizing world peace really are interested in actualizing world peace, they should also be visualizing industrial collapse. And bringing it about.

But I don’t think most of the people with “Visualize World Peace” bumper stickers on their old Saabs are interested in doing the work to take down civilization. It’s too messy. I keep thinking about that line by Gandhi, “We want freedom for our country, but not at the expense or exploitation of others.” I’ve also had this line crammed down my throat more times than I want to consider—often phrased as “You keep saying that in this struggle for the planet that you want to win, but if someone wins, doesn’t that mean someone has to lose, and isn’t that just perpetuating the same old dominator mindset?”—and I’ve always found it both intellectually dishonest and poorly thought-out.

A man tries to rape a woman. She runs away. Her freedom from being raped just came at his expense: he wasn’t able to rape her. Does this mean she exploited him? Of course not. Now let’s do this again. He tries to rape her. She can’t get away. She tries to stop him nonviolently. It doesn’t work. She pulls a gun and shoots him in the head. Obviously her freedom from being raped came at the expense of his life. Did she exploit him? Of course not. It all comes back to what I wrote earlier in this book: defensive rights always trump offensive rights. My right to freedom always trumps your right to exploit me, and if you do try to exploit me, I have the right to stop you, even at some expense to you.

All of this leads us to the fuzzy thinking. Anybody’s freedom from being exploited will always come at the expense of the oppressor’s ability to exploit. The freedom of salmon (and rivers) to survive will come at the expense of those who profit from dams. The freedom of ancient redwood forests to survive will come at the expense of Charles Hurwitz’s bank account. The freedom of the world to survive global warming will come at the expense of those whose lifestyles are based on the burning of oil. It is magical thinking to pretend otherwise.


Every choice carries with it costs. If you want air conditioning, you (and many others) are going to have to pay for it. If you want automobiles, you (and many others) are going to have to pay for them. If you want industrial civilization, you (and many others) are going to have to pay for it.

If you want freedom, you will have to fight for it and those who are exploiting you are going to have to pay for it. If you want a livable planet, at this point you will have to fight for it and those who are killing the planet are going to have to pay for it.


Schiller’s line, too, that “Peace is rarely denied to the peaceful,” is more magical thinking, and the people who spout it really should be ashamed of themselves. What about the Arawaks, Semay, Mbuti, Hopi? Peace has been denied them. What about the peaceful women who are raped? What about the peaceful children who are abused? What about salmon? What about rivers? What about red- wood trees? What about bison? What about prairie dogs? What about passenger pigeons? I hate to steal a line from someone so odious as John Stossel, but give me a break.


Sometimes this book scares me. I’m calling for people to bring down civilization. This will not be bloodless. This will not be welcomed by most of the civilized. But I do not see any other realistic options. I cannot stand by while the world is destroyed. And I see no hope for reform. This is true whether we talk about the lack of realistic possibility of psychological or social reform, or whether we talk about the structural impossibilities of civilization (which requires the importation of resources) ever being sustainable. And really, think about it for a moment: this culture is changing the climate—changing the climate—and those in power are doing nothing to stop it. In fact they’re burning more oil each year than the year before. If changing the earth’s climate is not enough to make them change their ways, nothing will. Nothing. Not petitions, not letters, not votes, not the purchase of hemp hackysacks. Not visualizations. Not sending them love. Nothing. They will not change. They must be stopped. Through any means necessary. We are talking about the life of the planet. They must be stopped.

This scares me.

I sent a note saying all this to my publisher, who wrote me back, “Nothing could be scarier than this culture. I dare you to scare me.”

Back to work.


The next pacifist argument is that the ends never justify the means. While adding the word almost just before the word never makes this true for many trivial ends—I would not, for example, be willing to destroy a landbase so I can magnify my bank account—it’s nonsense when it comes to self-defense. Are the people who spout this line saying that the ends of not being raped never justify the means of killing one’s assailant? Are they saying that the ends of saving salmon—who have survived for millions of years—and sturgeon—who have survived since the time of the dinosaurs—never justify the means of removing dams without waiting for approval from those who are saying they wish salmon would go extinct so we can get on with living [sic]? Are they saying that the ends of children free from pesticide-induced cancer and mental retardation are not worth whatever means may be necessary? If so, their sentiments are obscene. We’re not playing some theoretical, spiritual, or philosophical game. We’re talking about survival. We’re talking about poisoned children. We’re talking about a planet being killed. I will do whatever is necessary to defend those I love.

Those who say that ends never justify means are of necessity either sloppy thinkers, hypocrites, or just plain wrong. If ends never justify means, can these people ride in a car? They are by their actions showing that their ends of getting from one place to another justify the means of driving, which means the costs of using oil, with all the evils carried with it. The same is true for the use of any metal, wood, or cloth products, and so on. You could make the argument that the same is true for the act of eating. After all, the ends of keeping yourself alive through eating evidently justify the means of taking the lives of those you eat. Even if you eat nothing but berries, you are depriving others—from birds to bacteria—of the possibility of eating those particular berries.

You could say I’m reducing this argument to absurdity, but I’m not the one who made the claim that ends never justify means. If they want to back off the word never, we can leave the realm of dogma and begin a reasonable discussion of what ends we feel justify what means. I suspect, however, that this would soon lead to another impasse, because my experience of “conversations” with pacifists is that beneath the use of this phrase oftentimes is an unwillingness to take responsibility for one’s own actions coupled with the same old hubris that declares that humans are separate from and better than the rest of the planet. Witness the pacifist who said to me that he would not harm a single human to save an entire run of salmon. He explicitly states—and probably consciously believes—that ends never justify means, but what he really means is that no humans must be harmed by anyone trying to help a landbase or otherwise bringing about social change.

I sometimes get accused of hypocrisy because I use high technology as a tool to try to dismantle technological civilization. While there are certainly ways I’m a hypocrite, that’s not one of them, because I have never claimed that the ends never justify the means. I have stated repeatedly that I’ll do whatever’s necessary to save salmon. That’s not code language for blowing up dams. Whatever’s necessary for me includes writing, giving talks, using computers, rehabilitating streams, singing songs to the salmon, and whatever else may be appropriate.

Setting rhetoric aside, there is simply no factual support for the statement that ends don’t justify means, because it’s a statement of values disguised as a statement of morals. A person who says ends don’t justify means is simply saying: I value process more than outcome. Someone who says ends do justify means is merely saying: I value outcome more than process. Looked at this way, it becomes absurd to make absolute statements about it. There are some ends that justify some means, and there are some ends that do not. Similarly, the same means may be justified by some people for some ends and not justified by or for others (I would, for example, kill someone who attempted to kill those I love, and I would not kill someone who tried to cut me off on the interstate). It is my joy, responsibility, and honor as a sentient being to make those distinctions, and I pity those who do not consider themselves worthy or capable of making them themselves, and who must rely on slogans instead to guide their actions.


It’s pretty clear to me that our horror of violence is actually a deep terror of responsibility. We don’t have issues with someone being killed. We have issues about unmediated killing, about doing it ourselves. And of course we have issues with violence flowing the wrong way up the hierarchy.

Derrick Jensen is author of thirty books, including A Language Older Than Words, The Culture of Make Believe, and Endgame. He holds a degree in creative writing from Eastern Washington University, a degree in mineral engineering physics from the Colorado School of Mines, and has taught at Eastern Washington University and Pelican Bay State Prison.

Water Protector sentenced to 8 years in Federal Prison for actions to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

Water Protector sentenced to 8 years in Federal Prison for actions to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

For Immediate Release Thursday, July 1st, 2021

Editor’s note: If anyone should still have any doubts that we are living in CORPORATE FASCISM, this is imminent proof.

From the statement by Jessica and Ruby when they openly admitted and took full credit for carrying out eco-sabotage:
“Some may view these actions as violent, but be not mistaken. We acted from our hearts and never threatened human life nor personal property,” Montoya said. “What we did do was fight a private corporation that has run rampant across our country, seizing land and polluting our nation’s water supply. You may not agree with our tactics, but you can clearly see their necessity in light of the broken federal government and the corporations they represent.”


Des Moines, IA –On Wednesday Federal Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger sentenced Jessica Reznicek to 8 years in prison, followed by 3 years supervised probation, and a restitution of $3,198,512.70 paid to Energy Transfer LLC for the actions she took in 2016 to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“I am saddened to be preparing for prison following today’s sentencing hearing. My spirit remains strong, however, as I feel held in love, support and prayer by so many near and far. Regardless of my sentence I am hopeful that movements to protect the water live on in the struggles against Line 3 and the Mountain Valley Pipelines.”
Jessica Reznicek

The judge sided with the Federal prosecutors and applied a domestic terrorism enhancement to Jessica’s case. The enhancement originated in the Bush era Patriot Act, which expanded the definition of terrorism to cover “domestic,” as opposed to international, terrorism. Theprosecutor requested the enhancement claiming that Jessica’s acts of resistance were “violent”, “dangerous”, and sought to “intimidate the government”. The judge decided that this argument provided enough evidence to substantiate the enhancement, saying it was necessary to discourage others from taking similar actions.

The enhancement increases Jessica’s sentence, but also has far reaching implications for broader social justice movements. This use of this enhancement interprets non-violent actions that challenge corporate profit as acts of terror against the government.

On today’s decision one of Jessica’s attorneys Bill Quigley stated, “Unfortunately, actions to protect our human right to water were found to be less important than the profit and property of corporations which are destroying our lands and waters. For a country which was founded by the rebellion of the Boston Tea Party this is extremely disappointing. But the community of resistance will no doubt carry on. And history will judge if Jessica Reznicek is a criminal or a prophet. Many of us are betting she’s a prophet.”

In her statement to the court Jessica highlighted how the water system for her hometown of Des Moines is on the verge of collapse. The city water department has admitted that both the Des Moines and Racoon rivers are so polluted and low that in the upcoming weeks they might not be able to continue to use them to supply the capital with drinking water. Meanwhile “victim” in this case Energy Transfer Partners and its subsidiaries are responsible for 313 reported spills since 2012 on liquid lines, 35 caused water contamination. In the last 5 years the company had more accidents harming people or the environment than any other operator.

Jessica will remain on house arrest until she has to self-report for her sentence and plans to file an appeal within the 14 day window allowed by the court.


#FreeJessica #WaterIsLife #NoDAPL

Frank Cordaro
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DAPL Eco-Saboteurs Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya Plead Guilty

DAPL Eco-Saboteurs Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya Plead Guilty

Climate activists Ruby Montoya and Jessica Renzicek are pleading guilty in federal court in the legal action against their sabotage of the Dakota Access Pipeline. 

On July 24th, Ruby Montoya and Jessica Renzicek released a press release admitting that they had carried out multiple acts of sabotage against the then-under-construction Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in Spring 2017. The two activists set fire to heavy machinery and used blow torches to damage the oil pipeline and valves in an effort to decisively halt the project. While the DAPL was ultimately finished, their actions singlehandedly delayed construction for weeks or months. Their eco-sabotage resulted in millions of dollars of damage.

In September 2019, Jessica, 39, and Ruby, 30, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit criminal damage to an energy facility, malicious use of fire, and other felonies. Montoya and Reznicek are now set to plead guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to damage an energy facility. The other charges will be dismissed, with sentencing due in May 2021. Pleading guilty may result in up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Both Montoya and Reznicek were seasoned activists and knew sabotage may carry consequences. However, they were clear that direct action was a must, if we are to protect the planet and future of life. They asserted they were in support of indigenous sovereignty and were resisting corporate power.

“Our conclusion is that the system is broken and it is up to us as individuals to take peaceful action and remedy it, and this we did, out of necessity,” Montoya said.

Although the direct action undertaken by Montoya and Reznicek may have been controversial, Deep Green Resistance stands in support of Ruby and Jessica and remains opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline, and any development that destroys the natural world.

Please listen to Ruby Montoya and Jessica Reznicek talking with Jennifer Murnan and Max Wilbert during this 2017 interview, or read the transcript here. Their understanding and commitment is inspiring. We salute Ruby and Jessica and will keep readers up-to-date on their sentencing and where people can send support.

BREAKING: DAPL Eco-Saboteurs Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya Have Been Arrested and Charged in Federal Court

BREAKING: DAPL Eco-Saboteurs Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya Have Been Arrested and Charged in Federal Court

Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) eco-saboteurs Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya have been arrested and charged with multiple felonies.

They face up to 100 years or more in prison. Their next hearing is currently scheduled for December 2, 2019, before U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger in Des Moines, Iowa.

Statement of Support from Deep Green Resistance

Deep Green Resistance officially stands in solidarity and full support of the actions taken by Jessica and Ruby.

We expect they will find no justice in the colonial courts of an imperialist state, in a city founded as a military fort to oversee the destruction of local indigenous inhabitants and facilitate the settler-colonial invasion project, but the struggle does not end with incarceration. Revolution is bigger than any individual, and we struggle in solidarity with comrades locked in cages.

In an era of mass extinction, climate chaos, and ecological collapse, an era in which mainstream environmentalism has failed to even partially reverse these problems, militant action against industrial infrastructure such as pipelines is, without any question, justified.

In fact, militant resistance is a moral and physical obligation—a matter of planetary self-defense.

How to Support Jessica and Ruby

We invite you to join us in pledging our full support to their legal defense and to work in solidarity outside the courtroom. We are currently gathering more information about their legal situation. Pending information, we are now taking donations  for their legal defense and expenses.

To donate, click here and follow the instructions. Be sure to earmark your donation (using the “comment” field or memo of a check, etc.) for Jessica and Ruby legal defense.

For more updates on this case, visit this site regularly, or subscribe.

Their Actions: Eco-Sabotage Against the Dakota Access Pipeline

Between July 2016 and May 2017, Jessica and Ruby are believed to have committed at least 10 acts of eco-sabotage against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) using oxy-acetylene torches and improved incendiaries.

These attacks delayed pipeline construction by several months. In terms of material effectiveness vs. resources invested, their ecosabotage was roughly 1000 times as efficient as the aboveground fight at Standing Rock.

We say this not to disparage aboveground resistance, but to highlight the efficacy of militant underground struggle. Two people with a tiny budget were highly effective at fighting this project

Comparison of material effectiveness and efficiency of various pipeline resistance techniques. Image via “Pipeline Activism and Principles of Strategy.” Click the image for the source.

Interview with Jessica and Ruby

In July 2017, two days after Jessica and Ruby publicly admitted to carrying out the eco-sabotage campaign, Deep Green Resistance interviewed the two women. You can listen to that interview here:


The Charges They Are Facing

Press release from the U.S. Department of [In]Justice, Southern District of Iowa:

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

DES MOINES, Iowa – On September 19, 2019, a federal grand jury returned an Indictment charging defendants, Jessica Rae Reznicek and Ruby Katherine Montoya, with one count of conspiracy to damage an energy facility, four counts of use of fire in the commission of a felony, and four counts of malicious use of fire, announced United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum. Montoya was recently arrested in the District of Arizona and detained pending court proceedings to determine her appearance in the Southern District of Iowa. Reznicek appeared in Des Moines on October 1, 2019 and was conditionally released pending trial. Trial is currently scheduled for December 2, 2019, before United States District Court Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger.

According to Count 1 of the Indictment, from at least as early as 2016 and continuing in 2017, in the Southern District of Iowa and elsewhere, Reznicek and Montoya conspired to knowingly and willfully damage and attempt to damage the property of an energy facility involved in the transmission and distribution of fuel, or another form or source of energy, in an amount exceeding or which would have exceeded $100,000, and to cause a significant interruption and impairment of a function of an energy facility.

Counts 2 through 9 of the Indictment allege specific instances of damage or attempts to damage portions of the Dakota Access Pipeline in the Southern District of Iowa by Reznicek and Montoya on various dates in 2017.

The public is reminded that an Indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless they are proven guilty.

If they are convicted of Count 1, conspiracy to damage an energy facility, Reznicek and Montoya face up to 20 years imprisonment, not more than a $250,000 fine, or both such fine and imprisonment.

If they are convicted of Counts 2, 4, 6 and/or 8, use of fire in the commission of a felony, Reznicek and Montoya face a mandatory minimum 10 years imprisonment to be served consecutive to the sentence imposed on Count 1. For each second or subsequent conviction of Counts 2, 4, 6 and/or 8, Reznicek and Montoya face a mandatory minimum 20 years imprisonment to be served consecutive to the sentence imposed on Count 1.

If they are convicted of Counts 3, 5, 7 and/or 9, malicious use of fire, Reznicek and Montoya face a mandatory minimum 5 years imprisonment and a maximum of 20 years imprisonment, not more than a $250,000 fine, or both such fine and

The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Featured image: Tony Webster, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International 

Resistance News for May 2019

Resistance News

May 8, 2019

by Max Wilbert

Deep Green Resistance

Current atmospheric CO2 level (daily high from May 6th at Mauna Loa): 414.49 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. New DGR Podcast: The Green Flame
  2. A Modern Eco-Sabotage Manifesto
  3. The Legal System Will Not Save the Planet
  4. The problem with putting a price on nature
  5. Fighting for the Rights of Southern Resident Orcas
  6. All Oppression is Connected
  7. Submit your material to the Deep Green Resistance News Service
  8. Further news and recommended reading / podcasts
  9. How to support DGR or get involved

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Revolution is never practical – until the hour of the revolution strikes. THEN it alone is practical, and all the efforts of the conservatives, and compromisers become the most futile and visionary of human imaginings.

— James Connolly, “Socialism Made Easy” (1909)

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New DGR Podcast: The Green Flame

We are proud to announce a new project: The Green Flame, a Deep Green Resistance podcast offering revolutionary analysis, skill sharing, and inspiration for the movement to save the planet by any means necessary. Our hosts are Max Wilbert and Jennifer Murnan.

First episode:

Our first episode features Elisabeth Robson on why she calls The Green New Deal a “moral hazard,” a beautiful interview with the incomparable Saba Malik, who shares stories of gifting and receiving, of embracing and defending communities that are worth fighting for, and a poem by Michelle Lynn Jones that will leave you feeling as integrally a part of this living planet as you actually are.

You can subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or anywhere else you get your podcasts. More episodes coming soon.





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A Modern Eco-Sabotage Manifesto

[Link] By Max Wilbert

The woman places an arrow on her bow, draws to her cheek, and fires.

The arrow arcs over a high-voltage electrical transmission line, carrying a non-conductive rope. She jogs to her arrow, and begins to reel in the rope. As she pulls it over the lines, a conductive cable is revealed to be attached to its end. As the cable bridges the three-phase power lines, a short-circuit ripples down the lines. Miles away, an aluminum smelter grinds to a halt.

This is the opening of the new film Woman at War from director Benedikt Erlingsson. The film follows a one-woman ecosabotage campaign against the Icelandic aluminum industry.

Whenever I watch a film, especially a film grappling with the ecological crisis, I expect it to disappoint me. Ethan Hawke’s First Reformed, for example, started with a promising premise and then veered into self-flagellation and misogyny.

Woman at War, however, did not disappoint. Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir gives a masterful performance as Halla, a happy middle-aged woman who appears content with her life as a choir director in an Icelandic city. She moves about her life with grace and serenity, riding her bicycle through the streets, swimming in the ocean, and talking with her sister and other friends.

But Halla leads a double life. Her apparently tranquil existence hides her true mission, a campaign against heavy industry that is destroying Iceland. A portrait of Nelson Mandela hangs on her wall at home, a constant reminder that yesterday’s terrorists may become the freedom fighters of history. This is, no doubt, a reference to the ANC sabotage campaigns that Mandela helped to lead in Apartheid South Africa beginning in 1961.

In his testimony when he was sentenced, Mandela describes his reasoning: “I do not deny that I planned sabotage,” he said. “I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness nor because I have any love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation and oppression of my people by the whites.”

The same reasoning is true for eco-saboteurs today. In the era of climate chaos and government inaction, “extreme” acts like ecosabotage are not extreme at all. They are, in fact, some of the most reasonable responses imaginable.

The argument for sabotage in Woman at War is as undeniably real as the industry it tackles. Iceland’s abundant geothermal energy and hydropower extraction give it very low electricity prices, and has made it a global hot spot for aluminum smelting. The three aluminum smelters in Iceland use a full 73 percent of all electricity generated in the country.

Their power is supplied by geothermal energy harvesting facilities as well as a highly controversial hydroelectric dam that was opposed by environmental and community groups in the courts, via protest, and with direct action and ecosabotage. The smelters themselves are major polluters linked to birth defects, cancer, and bone deformations in nearby communities.

In the film, Halla’s attacks are not spontaneous. Like Mandela, she has obviously conducted a rigorous assessment of the situation. Her actions are meticulously planned. She receives intelligence from a friend high in the Icelandic government. She operates carefully, intelligently, implementing reasonable security precautions while avoiding wholesale paranoia.

At one point, Halla evades her face being recorded by a drone by wearing a Nelson Mandela mask, in an echo of Mandela’s words in his book Long Walk to Freedom: “Living underground requires a seismic psychological shift,” Mandela wrote. “One has to plan every action, however small and seemingly insignificant. Nothing is innocent. Everything is questioned. You cannot be yourself; you must fully inhabit whatever role you have assumed… The key to being underground is to be invisible.”

Like any effective underground figure, she follows the maxim that “Clandestine operational activity must be compartment[aliz]ed, it must be planned, it must be short in duration, and it must be rehearsed (or at least, composed of habitual actions).”

Rebecca Solnit, who has written some wonderful things, critiques Woman at War, writing that “our largest problems won’t be solved by heroes.” But Solnit then lauds Bill McKibben, founder of, an organization which (like the entire American environmental movement) has failed to stop even the growth of fossil fuel burning. McKibben’s entire approach hinges on a transition to green technology that, as I explain in my forthcoming book Bright Green Lies, has thus far failed to reduce emissions even by a fraction.

In contrast, eco-sabotage groups like MEND (the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta) have reduced oil output in Nigeria, Africa’s largest producer, by up to 40 percent on a sustained basis.

So which approach is really effective? Show me a country in which mass action has significantly reduced carbon emissions, and perhaps Solnit’s argument would hold more weight. Just two people conducting eco-sabotage against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) were nearly as effective in slowing the construction as tens of thousands were at Standing Rock. Imagine if a few more people had joined them. And a few more. And more.

As director Benedikt Erlingsson said of Halla in a recent interview, “She’s not a terrorist, she’s not creating terror, she’s not harming people. She’s only sabotaging structures. But she is doing what all fighters have been doing: for non-violent protest to work, it always needs to have an economic fist.”

Petitioning those in power to change things simply isn’t working. To have a chance of planetary survival, we need the most direct of direct actions.

Practically, there are a few lessons to be learned from Woman at War. For example, the film showcases perhaps the high end of effectiveness for a single saboteur. By acting in coordinated groups or securely linked cells, a larger number of people could be more effective. Additionally, the film shows the importance of building a culture of resistance. Halla is saved early on by a nearby farmer who detests the transmission lines and police crisscrossing the land his family has lived on for a thousand years. This element shows the importance of building a support network that can house, feed, transport, and otherwise support underground resistance—and won’t ask too many questions.

There is much to love about this film. Aesthetically, it is beautifully done. The music is superb. The Icelandic tundra, glaciers, rivers, hot springs, and stones are a presence all their own, and Halla inhabits this landscape throughout, repeatedly pressing her face into the thick moss as if into the embrace of a dear friend. She also demonstrates quite clearly that, in an asymmetric struggle, bushcrafts, physical fitness, and wilderness travel skills are a serious advantage for clandestine eco-resistance.

Woman at War bypasses American sexualization, casting a strong female lead acting on her own terms, without a hint of objectification. It even tackles prison well, showing that (to quote Mandela once again) “The challenge for every prisoner, particularly every political prisoner, is how to survive prison intact, how to emerge from prison undiminished, how to conserve and even replenish one’s beliefs.”

Ending a movie like this is hard. In reality, revolutionary work is likely to end with prison time, death, or international exile. But Woman at War closes deftly, in the same way it tackles tricky topics like morality, jobs, and family. Halla visits Ukraine to adopt a young girl, and on her return to the airport, is forced to carry her through a slowly-rising flood that has blocked the road. It is tranquil but daunting slow-moving emergency submerging the entire world. A fitting metaphor, then, for the theme of the entire film.

As I finish writing this review, spring is in full bloom. The birds are singing outside my small cabin in the Oregon woods. But I know that the slow-moving floods of climate change, species extinction, toxification, overpopulation, habitat destruction, and refugees are rising. Year by year, we are slipping into a nightmare. Woman at War is not exactly a template, but it is a great beginning point for a movement that could save us from the worst of what is coming, if only we are ready to listen.

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The Legal System Will Not Save the Planet


DGR member and lawyer Will Falk explains why the legal and regulatory system is structurally incapable of defending the natural world from threats, because it was never designed to do this. His conclusion is that communities must organize around revolutionary, ecological principles to defend the land themselves. We cannot rely on government to do it for us.

Video here:

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The problem with putting a price on nature

[Link] By Beth Robson / Art for Culture Change

I love the cover of the New York Times Magazine, by Pablo Delcan, for this week’s big story, “The Problem with Putting a Price on the End of the World.”

The article discusses the challenge with pricing carbon emissions properly so that we use less fossil fuels: because fossil fuels are so fundamental to every aspect of how we live in this modern culture, to price emissions higher means bringing a world of hurt to people who just want to be able to afford a home, or to commute to work, or put the next meal on the table.

The basic problem with pricing carbon as a solution to climate change is not, as the article states (and most people like to claim), that it is a “market failure”.

The problem is that pricing carbon doesn’t address the underlying issue: that our modern culture is inherently unsustainable, no matter how much we pay for the energy to run it.

The article argues that pricing carbon leads to a sluggish economy, which is bad.

No, what’s bad is the economy, period. Our modern economy is based on continual growth. We can’t “fix” the economy; we have to abolish it. Eliminate it. And to do that we need a vision of what is to replace it (and no, not “clean energy”!!) — because without a vision, people just get angry when they can no longer afford the necessities of life.

Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, this article pins hopes for the future on “clean” energy (something that doesn’t actually exist), and a growth economy based on renewables, within the framing of shifting away from fossil fuels not because carbon is expensive, but because renewables are a better, cheaper option, cause less pollution and less carbon, and will create jobs (i.e., basically the same argument as The Green New Deal). This approach simply changes the energy source that runs our unsustainable economy; it doesn’t change the underlying problem: the economy and the way we live our lives because of that economy.

Read on.

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Fighting for the Rights of Southern Resident Orcas

[Link] By Will Falk and Sean Butler / Voices for Biodiversity

On December 18, 2018, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Wild Fish Conservancy threatened the Trump administration with a lawsuit under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for allowing salmon fisheries to take too many salmon, which the critically endangered Southern Resident orcas depend on for food.

The impulse to protect the orcas is a good one. Southern Resident orcas are struggling to survive — only 75 remain. According to the statement by the Center for Biological Diversity and Wild Fish Conservancy, “The primary threats to Southern Resident killer whales are starvation from lack of adequate prey (predominantly Chinook salmon), vessel noise …that interferes with … foraging … and toxic contaminants that bioaccumulate in the orcas’ fat.”

You probably assume, when reading that list of primary threats to the orcas, that the threatened lawsuit would demand an end to these harmful activities. But it doesn’t. Instead, the organizations are merely asking the National Marine Fisheries Service — the agency responsible for issuing permits to Pacific coast fisheries — to deal with alleged violations of the ESA.

The Center for Biological Diversity and the Wild Fish Conservancy aren’t asking that activities harmful to Chinook salmon, and consequently to the Southern Resident orcas, be stopped. They aren’t asking for noisy vessels that disturb the whales’ foraging behaviors to be prohibited. They aren’t even asking for an end to the toxic contaminants that accumulate in the whales’ fat.

Why aren’t they asking for any of these things? Because under American law they aren’t allowed to ask for them.

All they are asking is that these harmful activities receive the proper permits.

Right now, laws like the Endangered Species Act are the main legal means for protecting threatened species and habitat in the United States. But these laws only allow us to challenge permit applications and ask that projects complete the permit process.

While it may hard to believe, these permits are designed to give permission to cause harm. Regulatory agencies only regulate the amount of harm that takes place. They do not, and cannot, stop ecocide. Instead they allow for softer, sometimes slower versions of ecocide.

To understand this, it helps to know a bit about how the Endangered Species Act actually works. The Act prohibits any person, including any federal agency, from “taking” an endangered species without proper authorization. “Take” is defined as: “to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.”

You might expect that the Act completely prohibits any activity that “takes” an endangered species. But it doesn’t. Under the Act, federal agencies may harm members of an endangered species as long as the activity is “not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species.”

While that may sound more promising, it isn’t. When a proposed action is likely to jeopardize an endangered species, the agency can then issue an Incidental Take Statement (ITS), which merely sets a limit on the number of individuals of an endangered species that can be taken.

In other words, a species that has already endured so much destruction can legally be further harmed if that harm is in compliance with certain terms and the correct forms are filled out.

Read on.

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All Oppression is Connected

[Link] By Elisabeth Robson / Art for Culture Change

All oppression is related to resource extraction.

Whether that resource is black Africans forced into slavery, a massive energy resource that powered settler-colonial America….

or the resource is women’s reproductive power, exploited by men who restrict women’s bodily autonomy and oppress women in the process….

or the resource is land taken from indigenous cultures and from wild animals for colonial settlers to farm….

or the resource is land taken from indigenous cultures and from wild animals for wind farms and solar farms…

or the resource is iron ore, copper, gold, coal, oil, gas, or sand taken from the land, taken from indigenous cultures and the poor for corporations and the rich people who run them…

or the resource is fresh clean water and fresh clean air, taken from us all by corporations to use as the dumping ground for their pollution, as commerce reigns supreme and supreme courts grant corporations more rights than people…

all oppression is related to resource extraction.

Read on.

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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.


Twitter: @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

Deanna Meyer of Prairie Protection Colorado—Derrick Jensen Resistance Radio—May 5, 2019

Leslie Kline of Triple Divide Seeds—Derrick Jensen Resistance Radio—April 28, 2019

Thomas Linzey of CELDF—Derrick Jensen Resistance Radio—April 21, 2019

Irakli Loladze: food nutrition collapse—Derrick Jensen Resistance Radio—April 14, 2019

23 Reasons Not to Reveal Your DNA

The Corporate and Security State Recognizes Movements Are a Threat to the Power Structure so they Study Our Efforts

Cities are sucking our countryside dry, scientists say

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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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Although we still have a long way to go before an insurrection, we should consider every struggle, however small, as a school of war to prepare us for those decisive revolutionary moments.

–      Jimena Vergara


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