February 28, 2015

The Battle for the Hambach Forest

By Michael Regenfuss of Deep Green Resistance

There is an ongoing fight, just north of Düsseldorf, Germany, to save the Hambach Forest, Germany's last old growth forest. The forest is a 1,000 hectare old growth oak forest right next to the largest open cast coal mine in Europe. The mine is 12 kilometers long, 4 kilometers wide, and 300 meters deep. The mine produces 100,000,000 tons of coal per year, used to supply 5 power plants.

The coal is used primarily for the weapons manufacturing industry in the nearby Rhineland industrial district. The mine is set to operate until 2045. The forest was acquired in 1978 by RWE, which now operates the mine. The forest was originally 5,500 hectares and since 1972 had been owned by the municipality of Niederzier. Since 1978 the forest has largely been cleared to make way for brown coal mining.

The company has also been using a law that the Nazis used to take land from people to evict people from entire villages. Over a ten year period this relocation process has removed entire village populations and demolished the structures to mine the coal underneath. During the relocation process some elders have died due to the stress and heartbreak of losing their homes. Many people are coming down with cancers, heart disease, and emphysema from airborne toxic particles.

The remaining forest, despite its dramatic diminution, is still a functioning habitat. It consists primarily of oak and hornbeam, who shelter endangered Bechstein's bats.

An ongoing blockade has been in place since April 2012 to save this remnant forest. The blockade was evicted from the forest in November 2012, but after only one day they regrouped and occupied a meadow next to the forest. In April 2013 they reoccupied the forest. More recent actions included a treesit in a 250 year old oak at the edge of the forest, a group of Earth First! members blocking the loading of coal trucks, and a protest in nearby Bergheim against a newly built coal burning plant.

The struggle continues to save the Hambach Forest. For slides, videos, and more information on past actions and on the current blockade, visit Hambach Forest (English) or Hambacher Forst (German). If you can physically help with the blockade, please join them in person. You can also donate money through their website. Whatever you can do would be really appreciated. Time is running out for this place; the final showdown for this forest will probably happen by August 2015. Thank you for your interest and support to save this beautiful place.

February 23, 2015

New ebook: "100 Daily Affirmations for Revolutionary Proletarian Militants"

Stephanie McMillan has a new ebook available for downloading, for $2.99: “100 Daily Affirmations for Revolutionary Proletarian Militants”. The ebook is a collection of hints of encouragement for those who want to destroy global capitalism, paired with cute drawings.

You can also view all the Affirmations at Stephane McMillan's website for free, but you may like having a collection all in one place, and buying the ebook is a great way to support her work!

February 20, 2015

Deep Green Resistance, Zoe Blunt, & indigenous anti-oil activists named as security threats

A report by the RCMP's Critical Infrastructure Intelligence Team reveals that Canada state surveillance of, and rhetoric about, grassroots environmental activists is not much different than in the US. We see the same false suppositions:

  • The well being of the people aligns with that of exploitative corporations which destroy landbases and poison the land, water, and air
  • Those defending land for current and future human and non-human inhabitants are working against the well being of the people
  • National security is more dependent on the 1% making massive profits than on a living landbase supporting the 100%
  • Peaceful defenders are "extremists" for not accepting the above premises and not allowing governments and corporations to do as they please
  • Burning fossil fuels is not proven to contribute to climate change
  • Sabotage against industrial machinery (itself responsible for murder of actual living and breathing humans and non-humans) is "violence"
  • In fact, civil disobedience or anything else that breaks their rules to challenge their power is "violence"

Amongst others named or hinted at as threats are Deep Green Resistance New York, Zoe Blunt of Forest Action Network, and the Unis'tot'en Camp. all operating as aboveground, not criminal, organizations.

Michael Toledano wrote an excellent article for Vice, including quotes from interviews with many of the activists highlighted in the report. He ties the leaked RCMP paper into proposed Bill C-51, which would drastically ramp up law enforcement powers, allowing a "preventive" seven day detainment of those who "may" commit a violent crime. How helpful of the RCMP report to clarify that anyone opposing industry is part of an unpredictably violent movement! Tolenado contrasts this chilling official perspective with his own first-hand experiences reporting on protest actions in Canada.

It's worth reading the entire piece for an understanding of the lies government agents tell themselves and ultimately the people, a glimpse into the many struggles taking place across Canada, and the indomitable spirit of resistance which won't back down in the face of increased state repression. As Zoe Blunt says:

"Now when push comes to shove we'll find out exactly how repressive and violent this government is. They are the ones who are violent. They're the ones who are criminals. They're the ones willing to destroy ecosystems, habitats, watersheds. They're the ones who are willing to put our entire coastline at risk, and everything that depends on this landscape, everything that depends on these ecosystems is put at risk when they put these projects through.

"They're looking at civil war. If they want these pipelines they're going to get it over our dead bodies."

Read the article at Anti-Oil Activists Named as National Security Threats Respond to Leaked RCMP Report

February 18, 2015

Building a relationship with the land

Originally posted by Suzanne Williams at Elephant Journal

Born and bred in London, I’m a city girl through and through.

But there is something fundamentally missing from city life that I believe is absolutely vital to our continued existence on this planet; a meaningful relationship with the land.

However, when the ground is covered in cement and buildings nobody asks, “What relationship do I have to this land?” I don’t think anyone even notices the land at all, except when struggling up a hill with their shopping.

A relationship with the land is vital, however, because without it we are going to continue to consume and abuse the very environmental systems that support us and we may kill ourselves off completely.

Recently I got the opportunity to do an Integral Permaculture internship at an eco-village in Spain.

In big letters at the bottom of their website it said, “Don’t ask yourself if you like it here, ask yourself if the land wants you here!”

What a strange and alien concept to a city girl like me. However, it gave me the chance to go on a quest and find out what a relationship to the land really means.

Before we begin let’s look at some history.

For about 3,000,000 years our ancestors lived in a balanced relationship with nature.

We would take what we needed and leave the rest, for all the other types of life, accepting that sometime there would be bountiful abundance and sometimes we’d have to go without. If the hunter gather cultures we know of give us any ideas, we respected and revere the spirits of all living things and saw ourselves as belonging to the earth—instead of it belonging to us.

This worked pretty well until about 10,000 years ago, when we invented agriculture and were forced by circumstance to no longer see nature as abundant.

Instead, we began to see it as an enemy who came and killed our crops or stole our chickens. And what’s more, we decided that we were more intelligent than the planet and we should start running the show ourselves.

Fast forward to today and on the surface we’ve done pretty well. We can genetically modify our food to make it more resilient, keep thousands of chickens in giant barns away from other animals and use artificial fertilisers, stimulating abundant growth whenever we want.

So why do we all have this sneaky feeling, along with all that evidence, that something is going terribly wrong?

We need to face facts. Industrial civilization has severed our relationship with the land.

We have achieved many things in the process, but now it’s time to re-establish our relationship with the land in the way that indigenous tribes have been pleading us to do for centuries.

Each individual’s journey will be personal to them. I don’t think it can be explained in a 10 point list of “Things To-Do.” We need to get to know the land in our own way.

However, here are some things that have helped me over the last few weeks that might help you too.

Walking barefoot.

When we walk barefoot we are in immediate connection with the land. It’s not such a good idea in a city but in a muddy field or a grassy meadow our feet pick up all kinds of information about the land that we only have a vague idea about when walking in shoes.

One of the key practices in permaculture is observing.

What is growing where? Who is already living here? Which birds? Lizards? Insects? Plants? Humans? When I sat and observed I could see how this intricate dance of life played out in perfect synchronicity and where I fitted in.

Sometimes I talk to trees.

Yes I know, it’s a cliché, however the responses I “imagine” are always insightful, informative and sometimes in an uncanny way. Indigenous people have use intuition and “imagination” to directly communicate with living things for millions of years. When you want to know if the land wants you there then ask it.

If we imagine it telling you to bugger off, then listen and bugger off. (This is something we can do in a city, although perhaps not out loud.)

Sometimes I notice that we humans think we are a parasite on this planet.

But I don’t think that’s true. We grew from this planet and I think we have the ability to live in balance with all the other creatures in a cooperative and respectful way, like we did for millions of years.

It’s only recently (10,000 years) that we thought we’d have a go at taking control of our lives and the environment. It’s been fun, but it doesn’t work and we need to use this amazing consciousness we have to remember how we used to live with the land all those years ago.

I wonder if the land misses us?

February 13, 2015

We can't have it all...

Mike Stasse at Damn the Matrix has posted a short analysis of the latest incarnation of the oft-repeated claim that we can generate all the electricity we "need" from a relatively small area of desert. Proponents of such claims rarely acknowledge that those deserts are habitat ― that is, home ― for many creatures. And as Stasse points out, the mining required to produce a solar farm causes tremendous harm.

The power of spin is such that the uninformed will continue believing we can have it all, only solar powered. We just have to fill those squares in North Africa, and everything will be cool.....

Read the full post at Damn the Matrix: The power of spin, and for a thorough critique of these techno-fixes, see the Deep Green Resistance Green Technology & Renewable Energy FAQs.

February 8, 2015

Unist'ot'en Camp report-back: Falling in Love

We recently highlighted Will Falk's account as one of the Deep Green Resistance volunteers who braved the January snow and ice to help out at the Unist'ot'en Camp. Max Wilbert wrote another moving personal piece giving an overview of the Unist'ot'en Camp strategy and describing the experience of contributing to their struggle.

Snow lashed the road. The darkness was total, our headlights casting weak yellow beams into the darkness. Most people had hunkered down in homes and motels, and the roads were near empty. Still, every few minutes a passing truck threw a blinding cloud of dry snow into the air, leaving us blind for seconds at a time as we hurtled onwards at the fastest speeds we could manage.

We pressed on, for our destination was important. It was a caravan to the Unist'ot’en Camp, and we were committed.


Resistance is the antipode to the dominant culture, and the Unist’ot’en Camp illustrates two interlocking and fundamental truths. First, the system which is killing the planet and exploiting billions can and must be stopped. Second, resistance is our best chance of reclaiming the best traits our species can display: compassion, love, fierce loyalty, deep connection to the land, community and shared purpose.

Read Wilbert's essay at Deep Green Resistance Seattle: Falling in Love and let it inspire you to support the Camp or another strategic campaign near and dear to you.