September 6, 2016

Political prisoners - September birthdays

The folks at The Chapel Hill Prison Books Collective publish a monthly poster of political prisoners with upcoming birthdays (PDF). Please support them by writing one or more letters.

If you're not sure what to write or how to send it, read this how-to guide for supporting prisoners.

A coordinated Prison Strike is planned for Friday, September 9, to strategically pressure the modern industrial prisons built on cheap inmate labor. To find an event near you, visit the Support Prisoner Resistance website.

August 23, 2016

Ecological Special Forces: A Proposal

The planet needs commandos

It wasn’t until the 1940’s that what we think of as the “commando” or special forces units were standardized by the British Army. With the goal of disrupting German forces in western France and later in the Mediterranean and North Africa, the first commando units were modeled on small groups of Arab fighters who had great success pinning down much larger British Army units during the uprisings in Palestine in the 1930’s.

These units proved to be very effective during World War II and have since become a staple of modern warfare. Today, the U.S. empire largely projects military force through targeted special forces operations and bombing campaigns, rather than outright warfare and traditional military maneuvers.

The Case for Ecological Commandos

Our planet is on the verge of total ecological collapse. Nothing is getting better. Governments and corporations continue business as usual while every day, carbon dioxide levels rise, forests are cut down, and 200 species are driven extinct. Forty percent of all human deaths can be attributed to pollution. Ocean fish may not exist by 2050.

Even in ecological preserves, life is suffering; there has been an 85% decline in mammals in West Africa’s parks. Major dams continue to be built. Environmentalists being are murdered around the world. African lions are in precipitous decline, as are tigers, leopards, elephants, polar bears, rhino, and countless other species. Most of the species who are driven extinct haven’t even ever been described by western science; they slip into extinction with barely a ripple.

Our few, hard-won victories are temporary. Protections can be (and are) revoked. Ground can be lost. Despite all we have done, life on this planet is slipping away.

Small forces of ecological commandos could reverse this trend by targeting the fundamental sources of power that are destroying the planet. We have seen examples of this. In Nigeria, commando forces have been fighting a guerrilla war of sabotage against Shell Oil Corporation for decades. At times, they have reduced oil output by more than 60%.

No environmental group has ever had that level of success. Not even close.

In the U.S., clandestine ecological resistance has been relatively minimal. However, isolated incidents have taken place. A 2013 attack on an electrical station in central California inflicted millions of dollars in damage to difficult-to-replace components used simple hunting rifles. The action took a total of 19 minutes, displaying the sort of discipline, speed, and tactical acumen required for special forces operations.

Characteristics of Special Forces Units

Physical Fitness

Mobility and secrecy are critical to the success of special forces. Therefore, physical fitness, as well as the use of appropriate aids, such as helicopters, bicycles, or pack animals, is essential. Commandos must be prepared to climb barriers, crawl, swim, carry heavy objects, endure long distance travel, maintain stillness, and so on.

Training in Infantry Weapons

Competency in firearms, knives, explosives, unarmed combat, and other handheld weapons are essential to these types of missions.

Focused on Stealth

Commandos must be capable of evading superior forces. This means they must have the ability to move silently and swiftly, and to hide in a variety of terrain. They should also be capable of killing or capturing opponents quickly and silently. However, stealth—the ability to avoid enemies—is more important than combat; fighting should only occur as a last resort. According to the book Deep Green Resistance, thus far the definitive resource on environmental sabotage, ecological commandos should seek to avoid causing casualties to avoid alienating the public further.

Comfortable Operating in Darkness and All Weather Conditions

Darkness is the element of choice for special forces units. Adverse weather can provide additional cover and opportunity. Therefore, units should train to operate in such conditions.

Capable of Operating on Water

Objectives often will be more accessible via water.

Flexible and Self-Directed

Communications during operations may be impossible, and comms equipment is always subject to failure. Special forces must be prepared with a plan. However, they should have a good understanding of mission objectives and be prepared to improvise.

Small Units

Unlike traditional military forces, commando units typically form small squads of 2-12 individuals. Multiple squads may come together for some operations, but small unit size allows faster reaction time and greater operational flexibility—critical in asymmetrical conflict. Special forces engaged in sabotage often split into two forces: one focused on demolitions, the second on covering the demolition force. Units in the field are supported by medical teams, researchers, supply officers, and other support staff at secure positions.

Proper Target Selection

Traditional military units operate by seizing and holding territory. Since special forces rely on tactical rather than strategic advantages, a different approach is needed. Commandos generally focus on high-value targets like supply lines, fuel depots, communications hubs, important propaganda targets, unprepared foes, and so on. Attacking such targets can destroy the enemy’s ability to fight. Clandestine units are always focused on attack, and not defense.

Intelligence Driven

The success of special forces operations depends largely on good intelligence. Gathering information about target locations, defenses, surveillance, cover, enemy reinforcements, escape routes, transportation options, weather, and so on is essential.

Doing What it Takes to Halt Empire

Our situation is desperate. Things continue to get worse. False solutions, greenwashing, corporate co-optation, and rollbacks of previous victories are relentless. Resistance communities are fractured, isolated, and disempowered. However, the centralized, industrialized, and computerized nature of global empire means that the system is vulnerable. Power is mostly concentrated and projected via a few systems that are vulnerable.

Even powerful empires can be defeated. But those victories won’t happen if we engage on their terms. Ecological special forces provide a method and means for decisive operations that deal significant damage to the functioning of global capitalism and industrialism. With enough coordination, these sorts of attacks could deal death blows to entire industrial economies, and perhaps (with the help of aboveground movements, ecological limits, and so on) to industrialism as a whole.

Implementation of this strategy will require highly motivated, dedicated, and skilled individuals. Serious consideration of security, anonymity, and tactics will be required. But this system was built by human beings; we can take it apart as well.

Good luck.

August 8, 2016

Political prisoners - August birthdays

The folks at The Chapel Hill Prison Books Collective publish a monthly poster of political prisoners with upcoming birthdays (PDF). Please support them by writing one or more letters.

If you're not sure what to write or how to send it, read this how-to guide for supporting prisoners.

July 24, 2016

Help pressure BNSF to cease fossil fuel transportation

Deep Green Resistance Seattle has posted an open letter to BNSF Railway to demand they stop transporting fossil fuels via their rail lines. This summer has seen increased focus on the dangers of coal, gas, and oil trains. We need your help to turn up the pressure on BNSF!

Read and sign the letter, then please share it with friends and family.

July 13, 2016

Publicly supporting underground resistance

Three members of DGR Lower Columbia attended the September 17, 2013, EIS hearing for construction of a coal terminal. The DGR members voiced radical opposition, by recognizing the uselessness of protesting in the ways permitted by the system, and explicitly supporting anyone who takes matters into their own hands to carry out strategic, militant attacks against industrial infrastructure.

This sort of public advocacy for underground resistance is crucial, and something anyone can do at a local level.

A DGR member reported back on the event:

"Ambre energy wants to ship coal from Montana and Wyoming to markets in Asia. A $643 million Millenium Bulk Terminals dock has been proposed to make this transfer possible.

The hearing in Longview (one of 5 happening in WA) is a step in the EIS process to ensure that "all opinions on this topic are heard and taken into account". The panel included one representative from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, one from Cowlitz County, and one from the Department of Ecology as well as a scribe. Knowing that our words would have no impact on the EIS itself, we were hoping to reach the protesting activists in the room (you'll notice our members politely ignoring the MC's efforts to make us face the panel).

The audience was comprised of two opposing parties: those in the blue and those in the red (think Democrats and Republicans reversed). Blue was worn by Millenium supporters largely arguing that Longview needs the jobs offered by the construction and operation of the terminal. Red was worn by Beyond Coal activists concerned about local and global environmental impacts of the coal industry. For three hours we listened to speakers from both sides chosen through a lottery to convey a two-minute opinion.

Particularly poignant was a speech given right at the beginning by an indigenous man. He argued against bringing the coal industry to Longview for the jobs it might create, by comparing the situation to a bartender who keeps selling alcohol to an obviously drunk man just because he needs the money, or to parents buying their children drugs and alcohol because "they're gonna get their hands on it anyway." Another man argued loudly against the "advantage" of bringing new industry to Longview by reminding us of the booming economy in Germany when they were building Auschwitz.

Our own speeches were met with mixed reactions. I heard people complaining next to me that extremism hinders the cause and that these hearings do make an impact. But we also noticed wide smiles on the faces of a few in the audience. And Travis' parting words were met with cheers and applause. By the end, Charles was busy collecting email addresses and it was clear our message reached at least a few new ears.

Who knows what the outcome of the coal terminal argument will be? But if we got some more people to understand the severity of our situation and the action that is actually necessary to save the planet, I'll deem the excursion a success and these hearings worthwhile.

July 1, 2016

Political prisoners - July birthdays

The folks at The Chapel Hill Prison Books Collective publish a monthly poster of political prisoners with upcoming birthdays (PDF). Please support them by writing one or more letters.

If you're not sure what to write or how to send it, read this how-to guide for supporting prisoners.

June 10, 2016

Deep Green Resistance excerpt: The Triumph of the Pornographers

Lierre Keith / Excerpt from Chapter 4, "Culture of Resistance," of Deep Green Resistance

The triumph of the pornographers is a victory of power over justice, cruelty over empathy, and profits over human rights. I could make that statement about Walmart or McDonalds and progressives would eagerly agree. We all understand that Walmart destroys local economies, a relentless impoverishing of communities across the US that is now almost complete. It also depends on near-slave conditions for workers in China to produce the mountains of cheap crap that Walmart sells. And ultimately the endless growth model of capitalism is destroying the world. Nobody on the left claims that the cheap crap that Walmart produces equals freedom. Nobody defends Walmart by saying that the workers, American or Chinese, want to work there. Leftists understand that people do what they have to for survival, that any job is better than no job, and that minimum wage and no benefits are cause for a revolution, not a defense of those very conditions. Likewise McDonalds. No one defends what McDonalds does to animals, to the earth, to workers, to human health and human community by pointing out that the people standing over the boiling grease consented to sweat all day or that hog farmers voluntarily signed contracts that barely return a living. The issue does not turn on consent, but on the social impacts of injustice and hierarchy, on how corporations are essentially weapons of mass destruction. Focusing on the moment of individual choice will get us nowhere.

The problem is the material conditions that make going blind in a silicon chip factory in Taiwan the best option for some people. Those people are living beings. Leftists lay claim to human rights as our bedrock and our north star: we know that that Taiwanese woman is not different from us in any way that matters, and if going blind for pennies and no bathroom breaks was our best option, we would be in grim circumstances.

And the woman enduring two penises shoved up her anus? This is not an exaggeration or “focusing on the worst,” as feminists are often accused of doing. “Double-anal” is now standard fare in gonzo porn, the porn made possible by the Internet, the porn with no pretense of a plot, the porn that men overwhelmingly prefer. That woman, just like the woman assembling computers, is likely to suffer permanent physical damage. In fact, the average woman in gonzo porn can only last three months before her body gives out, so punishing are the required sex acts. Anyone with a conscience instead of a hard-on would know that just by looking. If you spend a few minutes looking at it—not masturbating to it, but actually looking at it—you may have to agree with Robert Jensen that pornography is “what the end of the world looks like.”

By that I don’t mean that pornography is going to bring about the end of the world; I don’t have apocalyptic delusions. Nor do I mean that of all the social problems we face, pornography is the most threatening. Instead, I want to suggest that if we have the courage to look honestly at contemporary pornography, we get a glimpse—in a very visceral, powerful fashion—of the consequences of the oppressive systems in which we live. Pornography is what the end will look like if we don’t reverse the pathological course that we are on in this patriarchal, white-supremacist, predatory corporate-capitalist society. . . . Imagine a world in which empathy, compassion, and solidarity—the things that make decent human society possible—are finally and completely overwhelmed by a self- centered, emotionally detached pleasure-seeking. Imagine those values playing out in a society structured by multiple hierarchies in which a domination/subordination dynamic shapes most relationships and interaction. . . . [E]very year my sense of despair deepens over the direction in which pornography and our pornographic culture is heading. That despair is rooted not in the reality that lots of people can be cruel, or that some number of them knowingly take pleasure in that cruelty. Humans have always had to deal with that aspect of our psychology. But what happens when people can no longer see the cruelty, when the pleasure in cruelty has been so normalized that it is rendered invisible to so many? And what happens when for some considerable part of the male population of our society, that cruelty becomes a routine part of sexuality, defining the most intimate parts of our lives?

All leftists need to do is connect the dots, the same way we do in every other instance of oppression. The material conditions that men as a class create (the word is patriarchy) mean that in the US battering is the most commonly committed violent crime: that’s men beating up women. Men rape one in three women and sexually abuse one in four girls before the age of fourteen. The number one perpetrator of childhood sexual abuse is called “Dad.” Andrea Dworkin, one of the bravest women of all time, understood that this was systematic, not personal. She saw that rape, battering, incest, prostitution, and reproductive exploitation all worked together to create a “barricade of sexual terrorism” inside which all women are forced to live. Our job as feminists and members of a culture of resistance is not to learn to eroticize those acts; our task is to bring that wall down.

In fact, the right and left together make a cozy little world that entombs women in conditions of subservience and violence. Critiquing male supremacist sexuality will bring charges of being a censor and a right-wing antifun prude. But seen from the perspective of women, the right and the left create a seamless hegemony.

Gail Dines writes, “When I critique McDonalds, no one calls me anti-food.” People understand that what is being critiqued is a set of unjust social relations—with economic, political, and ideological components—that create more of the same. McDonalds does not produce generic food. It manufactures an industrial capitalist product for profit. The pornographers are no different. The pornographers have built a $100 billion a year industry, selling not just sex as a commodity, which would be horrible enough for our collective humanity, but sexual cruelty. This is the deep heart of patriarchy, the place where leftists fear to tread: male supremacy takes acts of oppression and turns them into sex. Could there be a more powerful reward than orgasm?

And since it feels so visceral, such practices are defended (in the rare instance that a feminist is able to demand a defense) as “natural.” Even when wrapped in racism, many on the left refuse to see the oppression in pornography. Little Latina Sluts or Pimp My Black Teen provoke not outrage, but sexual pleasure for the men consuming such material. A sexuality based on eroticizing dehumanization, domination, and hierarchy will gravitate to other hierarchies, and find a wealth of material in racism. What it will never do is build an egalitarian world of care and respect, the world that the left claims to want.

On a global scale, the naked female body—too thin to bear live young and often too young as well—is for sale everywhere, as the defining image of the age, and as a brutal reality: women and girls are now the number one product for sale on the global black market. Indeed, there are entire countries balancing their budgets on the sale of women. Is slavery a human rights abuse or a sexual thrill? Of what use is a social change movement that can’t decide?

We need to stake our claim as the people who care about freedom, not the freedom to abuse, exploit, and dehumanize, but freedom from being demeaned and violated, and from a cultural celebration of that violation.

This is the moral bankruptcy of a culture built on violation and its underlying entitlement. It’s a slight variation on the Romantics, substituting sexual desire for emotion as the unmediated, natural, and privileged state. The sexual version is a direct inheritance of the Bohemians, who reveled in public displays of “transgression, excess, sexual outrage.” Much of this ethic can be traced back to the Marquis de Sade, torturer of women and children. Yet he has been claimed as inspiration and foundation by writers such as “Baudelaire, Flaubert, Swinburne, LautrĂ©amont, Dostoevski, Cocteau, and Apollinaire” as well as Camus and Barthes. Wrote Camus, “Two centuries ahead of time . . . Sade extolled totalitarian societies in the name of unbridled freedom.” Sade also presents an early formulation of Nietzsche’s will to power. His ethic ultimately provides “the erotic roots of fascism.”

Once more, it is time to choose. The warnings are out there, and it’s time to listen. College students have 40 percent less empathy than they did twenty years ago. If the left wants to mount a true resistance, a resistance against the power that breaks hearts and bones, rivers and species, it will have to hear—and, finally, know—this one brave sentence from poet Adrienne Rich: “Without tenderness, we are in hell.”

Read more excerpts from or order the Deep Green Resistance book.

Read more critiques of pornography at the Deep Green Resistance News Service archives.

June 5, 2016

DGR and Direct Action Spokane oppose Pacific Northwest coal/oil/gas trains

Dillon Thomson / Deep Green Resistance Eugene

In late April, I participated in Direct Action Spokane's first public event and a strategy meeting regarding the blocking of coal/oil/gas trains in the northwest. The public event consisted of four presentations and a Q&A session. The presenters included myself, Jackie Minchew and Mike Lapointe of the Delta 5, and Ken Ward of the Climate Disobedience Center. DAS's goal for the event was to make direct action and breaking the law more palatable of an option for community members in Spokane, specifically around blocking coal/oil/gas trains running through the city. Jackie, Mike, and Ken talked about their actions and I filled in with examples from historical movements of the precedent for direct action. There were approximately 70-80 people in attendance, and the event was quite successful.

The following morning DAS called a private meeting to talk about strategy and how successful resistance against these trains might look. We discussed different ways to block the tracks, legal support, fundraising, constructing a narrative of resistance, being prepared for the aftermath in terms of knowing what to do with people who wish to join the struggle in Spokane or in the larger northwest, creating the conditions for a succession of blockades, and the possibility of coordinated action on the same rail line in a different location.

Some good connections were made in Spokane. Ken Ward expressed interest in working together and wanted to know how DGR and Climate Disobedience Center can complement each other. The Delta 5 people were unfamiliar with DGR but seemed eager to bring our name and strategy back to Everett, WA.

Further information

Read my report back from the mid-May Break Free direct action in Anacortes, WA.

View a video recording of my presentation:

Or watch the entire event:

Browse all Deep Green Resistance Member Appearances or visit our Youtube channel

May 26, 2016

Political prisoners - June birthdays

The folks at The Chapel Hill Prison Books Collective publish a monthly poster of political prisoners with upcoming birthdays (PDF). Please support them by writing one or more letters.

If you're not sure what to write or how to send it, read this how-to guide for supporting prisoners.

May 19, 2016

March Against Monsanto this Saturday

Anita Stewart / Deep Green Resistance Florida

The latest news reports on glyphosate, the active ingredient in the popular weed-killer Roundup, indicate that it is present in California wines, Quaker Oats and even in the urine of elected officials in Europe. Roundup is manufactured by Monsanto ― the same Monsanto that produced Agent Orange (notoriously contaminated with dioxin) responsible for the ongoing, horrific birth defects in Viet Nam where it was widely used as a defoliant and sprayed from planes into the bush and over remote villages. These chemicals also affect the US children of those active duty military and veterans that were exposed. What is chilling is the fact that these chemicals have also been either stored or used here in the United States.

Agent Orange is connected to the 25% of Veterans testing positive for Diabetes 2 per the VA’s own website–the general population is at 8–10%. (As soon as you are diagnosed through the VA with Diabetes 2, the second question is “to your knowledge, were you ever exposed to Agent Orange?” So the VA is well aware of this connection).

The VA will not pay out any monies/disability to Agent Orange victims unless the veteran was stationed in Viet Nam. Per the veterans themselves and some of their most recent reports, Agent Orange was not used, stored or transported exclusively in Viet Nam.

The Risks are Supposed to be Secret on this Globe Full of Victims

50% of our general population will get cancer during their lifetime or have it already. And this directly affects all of us as many of us have loved ones with cancer or know someone that has died from it. Those of us who got our diagnosis already are working hard at staying alive. We will live the rest of our lives constantly detoxing. Some of us who are veterans have both cancer and diabetes and both conditions are connected to the use of Agent Orange and other Monsanto chemicals per the VA’s own website. We have probably been poisoned.

The important thing to note about these reports is that the IARC, a World Health Organization working group of doctors published their findings last year showing that Roundup’s Glyphosate "probably causes cancer." Their report was posted on the LANCET website last year. Immediately after the report was published, Monsanto demanded a retraction of the IARC’s findings but they never got it.

From March Against Monsanto: “In a recent article by EcoWatch, it was revealed that the EPA had finally released its long-awaited report on the WHO declaration, only to mysteriously pull it from circulation.”

These are ways that corporate media, news outlets and government agencies censor, omit or create a critical buzz regarding information and attempt to keep it from those who need it most; like journalists, victims and medical workers. And of course to cover up the crimes by the corporations and any possibility of them being held accountable.

Other alarming trends and side effects of the regular use of these toxins include the killing off of our pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, and birds. Some of these populations are now collapsing. We are already losing approximately 200 species a day due to extinction. Without the pollinators, we will not be able to sustain our current food supplies.

Many questions need to be raised about the continued use of these toxins. Roundup is the one most widely used in the US, despite being banned in many other countries.

This planet is Gaia because of her evolutionary adaptive capacity. The only question to ask is, 'Will human beings be around in that adaptive context?'
Dr. Vandana Shiva, Eckerd College, March 9, 2015.

Our Demands and Why We March

Labeling GMOs or genetically modified organisms in our food products and produce is the other reason why we march. I believe at the very least companies should be accurately labeling them. March Against Monsanto calls for two events a year: in May and October. The events are to increase awareness about the need for labeling food that contains GMO’s. This would give the consumers all of the information they need to know so they can make educated choices for themselves and their families.

I want to take it a step further. I call for a permanent ban on Roundup and other similar agro-chemicals, and a boycott of anyone that is using them. We are literally marching for our lives. Who is with me?

Upcoming Events

We march everywhere on the globe Saturday, May 21st, 2016. Join us as we march for the right to not be poisoned anymore.

March Against Monsanto will be present at a hearing at the Hague in October 2016 to correspond with World Food Day. You can help crowdfund and organize that event.