July 25, 2015

Always see Deep Green Resistance Facebook posts

For a while, even if you "liked" the DGR Facebook page, there was no guarantee that our posts would show up in your news feed. Now Facebook has introduced a way for users to always see our posts. To enable it:

  1. Go to Deep Green Resistance Facebook
  2. "Like" our page if you haven't yet
  3. Hover your mouse cursor over the "Liked" button on our page, then select "See First".

Thanks for following our page!

July 23, 2015

Civilisation's assault on traditional Himalayan cultures

by Elliott Ford, Deep Green Resistance UK

Whist traveling in the North Indian State of Uttrakhand, my beloved (Rachel) and I decided to visit a small village in the Himalayas called Khati, that had yet to receive a connection to the national electric grid. We hoped to get a brief insight into existence of a people that hadn't become 'developed' and at the same time take in some beautiful views of the Himalayan range. I also thought this would be an appropriate time to start a book I'd been meaning to read called Ancient Futures by Helena Norberg-Hodge which describes the effects of 'development' of the Ladakhi people in the 1980's.

We set off on an old Enfield motorcycle traveling North into the mountains until the road turned to a treacherous uphill track and then eventually stopped altogether. We left the bike by the house of a friendly local man and started the walk to Khati which would last three days and take us over passes of 3500m.

As we approached Khati and walked through terraced monocrops of wheat, we realised it was unlikely we would be visiting a village unaffected by globalisation. Growing a single crop usually indicates that a rural area has switched from being self sufficient to selling the produce of monocrops to earn money and buy the necessities of life, as well as alluring luxuries. Our suspicions were confirmed when we stopped in a local tea shop and were offered Coca-cola and a selection of packaged foods that were essentially refined wheat and sugar, processed and marketed in different ways. Continuing on our journey we noticed litter was increasingly present as we neared the village. Prior to development there would have been no litter as everything would have come from the local area and eventually returned to the cycle in a different form. Plastic is different, it has no cycle to return to, it remains as litter, is burnt (releasing lots of carcinogens) or is thrown into a river to be carried to the ocean.

Many empty alcohol bottles were amongst the litter indicating a high level of alcohol consumption, another consequence of 'development' said to be caused by increasingly stressful lifestyles and exposure to advertising. And it appeared that these people were consuming plenty of advertising because, as houses came into view, we could see that each had a small solar panel and satellite dish on the roof. This meant that each house had a TV, exposing its residents to all the material things they "need" to be happy, and making them firmly aware of how much they lack. Prior to having the lifestyles of people from faraway places transmitted into their homes, it is likely that people would have been more content with what they had.

As we walked though the village to a guesthouse we passed a group of uniformed children who were returning home from school. It seemed that the Western education system had been adopted meaning children no longer spent their days learning knowledge and wisdom from their elders about local traditions and how to live on the land. Instead, children would compete with each other to learn abstract knowledge, chosen by people that had never set foot in their village. The result would be young people who lack skills to live on the land and instead have a skill set designed to serve the global economic system that will often involve them leaving the community for an urban centre.

It's not just lack of appropriate skills that motivates young people to leave their community, as through exposure to T.V and tourists, young people reject their own culture, which is now viewed as inferior or backward, and strive to adopt the new Western culture and image. Teenagers we passed later were dressed in a way that meant they wouldn't have looked out of place in any European city. Older generations still dressed in a more traditional way, wearing locally woven fabrics suggesting that the development process started relatively recently.

We stayed the night in the village and left the next day feeling sad, but not surprised, that the Western civilisation, based on endless expansion, had grown to envelop such a remote place. Norberg-Hodge describes the process of being enveloped as a "systemic transformation of society", including many of the recent changes we'd observed in Khati.

I later reflected on what would cause the people of Khati to sacrifice their independence and rich, complex way of life to strive for 'development' where they'd become servile in a system of billions of people, with little chance of success, having their lives determined by activities and decisions made in distant places. Norberg-Hodge claims that looking at the modern world from the perspective of undeveloped people, "our culture looks infinitely more successful from the outside than we experience it on the inside." In other words, it is a carefully crafted illusion that lures communities into an inescapable grasp before they realise the fallacy. Or maybe, like the majority of people in the West, they won't realise the fallacy and instead continually strive for something that is just beyond their reach.

In the past, communities would be violently coerced to adopt ways of living for the benefit of ruling groups. "Today’s conquistadors are development, advertising, the media, and tourism." Norberg-Hodge states, a process considerably more insidious than previous techniques and as a tourist one I must accept my part in. Although tourism to Khati is small compared to Ladakh, our presence would have far-reaching and unknown consequences.

My lasting impression was that if Western civilisation stopped tomorrow, after an initial period of readjustment, the people of Khati would experience a considerable improvement in their lives. Generations of people are still alive that possess knowledge that the younger generations seem unable and uninterested to receive. But those elders won't be alive for much longer. Western civilisation must be stopped as soon as possible.

July 19, 2015

Celebrate achievements, or be lulled by hope?

Those of us who care about life and justice are often, understandably, disheartened by all indicators of the health of the planet continuing to worsen. Equally understandably, we tend to grasp at those rare signs that we may succeed in turning things around: a big turnout to a protest, hundreds of thousands of signatures on a petition of national significance, or a year in which carbon emissions don't increase over the year before.

We need fuel to keep us going as activists ― reason to believe our work can make a difference. We need to nourish our resistance by celebrating achievements. We know this is a long-term struggle and that we won't achieve ecological sustainability overnight, that we must set strategic goals and allow ourselves to feel accomplishment when we complete tasks that contribute to meeting those goals.

But it is dangerous to conflate a possible support base, willing to make symbolic statements, with an actual effective movement. It is dangerous to confuse things-getting-slightly-less-bad with actual victory. We need to keep grounding ourselves in a big picture view of reality and of our strategy, tactics, and goals, and regularly ensure that our daily actions are consistent with a carefully thought out plan. When we reach milestones in enactment of our strategy, we should review them with pride and satisfaction, and build on them to further goals. But we shouldn't seize on any bit of vaguely good news to make ourselves feel better in a bout of self-delusion.

We recommend reading the new post "Deep Green Resistance Seattle: The Climate Movement is Failing. Here are Two Models to Turn the Tide." It opens with the Lauren Hill quote “Fantasy is what people want but reality is what they need,” then examines the lulling effects of a one-year leveling off of carbon emissions and of the excitement generated by the #ShellNO campaign. It puts these in context of what needs to happen, and introduces two model strategies ― CELDF as an aboveground approach to direct democracy in the US, and MEND as a belowground campaign of strategic sabotage against the oil industry in the Niger Delta.

And if you haven't yet, read the strategy of Decisive Ecological Warfare. If you've been uncertain as to how your activism fits into the big picture, these two links are a great starting point for you to contemplate how you can be most effective.

July 11, 2015

The Desert Star

by Unblind

There once was a little boy, who lived in the Middle East.
His family had been murdered when bombs rained in the streets.
He huddled silent upon the rubble of his crumbled home,
Suffering, starving, terrified, he survived there on his own.

Fire lit skies from ravaged landscapes burned into the night,
But when the smoke clouds cleared a lonely star came into sight.
Deep from within his broken heart, the boy wept out his wish;
End the massacre of his people by the hands of the Western Rich.

There was something magical in that star,
No one could understand it.
Even the boy didn’t realize that his wish would soon be granted.

What then followed was not what he had perceived,
Something far more incredible would make the world believe.
An army of one million spirits taken by the war,
Rose up from their graves that night to walk the earth once more.

They marched in silence hand in hand, mother father, child,
Through the endless battlefields that spread for miles and miles.
When the invaders' outposts had finally been reached,
The spirits simply stood there until the gunfire ceased.

The soldiers were all dumbfounded as they looked on in disbelief,
There they stood hand in hand the spirits of their casualties.
One by one the soldiers dropped their heavy guns,
Staring at the ghostly faces, they realised what they had done.

Thinking of their own families and of those who they loved best,
The soldiers stripped off their uniforms, turned and headed to the West.
War machines stood empty, with weapons in the sand,
Smoke cleared to blue sky as peace fell upon the land.

The little boy stood there smiling, for his wish had come true,
Now he stared up at his mother’s face and asked;
“Can I come with you?”

The spirit embraced her child and gave him one last kiss,
She took his little hand in hers and granted him his wish.
His soul followed the others as they floated to the light,
Free from their deaths misery, they each glowed with renewed delight.

Wide-awake the world now sees,
Through the eyes of others new found empathy.

also see Unblind's "Older But Not Wiser..."

July 7, 2015

Guardian article on FBI harassment of DGR members & lawyer

The DGR News Service reported last October about a string of FBI contacts with Deep Green Resistance members. Adam Federman, a reporter with The Guardian, has just published an article about that wave of harassment and three recent detainments of lawyer Larry Hildes. Federman shares details of the initial FBI contacts with multiple members, including an especially intimidating pair of workplace visits, and with their families.

The FBI has a long and shameful history of surveillance and disruption of legal organizations working against the status quo. From outright intimidation and assassination to more subtle interventions to destroy the social glue of resistance communities, the FBI has engaged in illegal and undemocratic activity for decades. The recent incidents may be part of a Modern COINTELPRO directed against DGR and other environmental movements.

The article begins:

Deanna Meyer lives on a sprawling 280-acre goat farm south of Boulder, Colorado. She’s been an activist most of her adult life and has recently been involved in a campaign to relocate a prairie dog colony threatened by the development of a shopping mall in Castle Rock.

In October of last year, an agent with the Department of Homeland Security showed up at her mother’s house and later called her, saying he was trying to “head off any injuries or killing of people that could happen by people you know”.

Read the entire article about FBI harassment of Deep Green Resistance.

July 3, 2015

Prairie dog liberation campaign: report-back & video

The DGR Southwest Coalition recently held their annual Southwest Gathering, sharing skills & good food, and engaging in many discussions & strategy sessions. As part of the gathering, Deanna Meyer of Deep Green Resistance Colorado joined Brian Ertz of Wildlands Defense to discuss their recent campaign against a Castle Rock mega-mall development. We've reported here a little bit on the struggle, and are excited to share this video of Meyer and Ertz describing the campaign in more detail.

The campaign initially petitioned the developer to "do the right thing": delay construction until June, so that threatened prairie dogs on-site could be relocated with the best chance of survival. Though this would leave the prairie dogs as refugees, displaced from their homes and with the rest of their community killed, at least they would have a chance to try to rebuild their lives. When the developer responded by poisoning the prairie dogs en masse (along with many others, human and nonhuman), the campaign focused on saving those who were left, and on creating an example of the developer by inflicting as much pain as possible.

The campaigners were unable to stop the development or to save all the prairie dogs, but their dedicated grassroots organizing succeeded at achieving their secondary objectives. They forced the developer to halt construction for months, allowing workers to rescue those prairie dogs who survived the mass slaughter. They've probably cost the developer millions of dollars and countless headaches, demonstrating the practical value to future developers of doing the right thing from the start.

Learn how these defenders of life leveraged their strengths to overcome a powerful opponent despite mainstream environmental groups saying "it can't be done", and how they plan to build on their win:

See more videos at the Deep Green Resistance Youtube channel