March 29, 2018

Film Review: "Sami Blood"

by Kurt Seaberg

I just watched this incredible film the other night with my niece Anna. Achingly beautiful and profoundly sad at the same time, the most potent scenes of Sami Blood are like a haunting piece of music, with little or no dialogue. Yet they stick with me like a powerful dream. I've rarely experienced a movie that depicts the overt and subtle effects of racism, colonialism and internalized oppression in such a visceral manner.

What can you say about a system that compels one to reject their own heritage, their own language, their own family, their own identity? And yet the land itself seems to call her back.

My father, like the Sami girl in the film, was ripped from his idyllic childhood by unfortunate circumstances, a childhood where he spent his summers living in a tent. After his parents died he went to live with Swedish immigrants who "civilized" him, taught him to play the piano, enrolled him in art school. It wasn’t a boarding school but it had a similar mission.

He recalled that as a child he was “measured by doctors" who told him the shape of his head was "Lappish." I don’t believe he felt shame. If anything it made him curious, fascinated by a unique culture he felt a personal link to. But like so many children of immigrants from Europe he was thrown into the great melting pot where the lucky ones become “white."

And like so many Americans of his generation he bought into the racial theories--once considered “scientific”--that continue to divide human beings into categories of "superior" and "inferior.” Once these categories are regarded as “factual," it’s only a small step before euthanasia becomes a political program deemed necessary to weed out “undesirables”--the impure, the unfit and the genetically weak--a program that promises to “improve” the human race: genetically modified, scrubbed of the past, torn from the earth, disconnected from nature, uniform, colorless, white…

March 5, 2018

What Really Happened at PIELC 2018

Over the first weekend in March, members and allies of Deep Green Resistance (DGR) attended, presented, and tabled at PIELC (Public Interest Environmental Law Conference) in Eugene, OR, as we have for as long as our organization has existed. PIELC (formerly ELAW) has long been a place where disparate perspectives from within the environmental movement—including those of lawyers, radicals, grassroots activists, liberals, and nonprofits—gather to learn from, engage with, and challenge each other.

In general, DGR activists appreciate the opportunity to engage in respectful dialogue, including with individuals who might disagree with our approach to halting the destruction of the planet and misogynist culture.

For several years, however, a small group of individuals has harassed DGR activists at PIELC, ostensibly because they disagree with our radical feminist position. Rather than engage in a productive discussion about patriarchy and its driving forces, these individuals choose to spread rumors and outright lies about DGR, both via social media and in person during the conference.

We’ve written several articles that address this ongoing defamation. You can read them here, here, and here.

So what happened this year?

This year was no exception. In the weeks before PIELC 2018, a small group of individuals engaged in anti-DGR rhetoric and actions via social media and other public forums. During PIELC, these same individuals attempted to disrupt our designated tabling space by stealing our materials, holding derogatory signs in front of us and our table, and using incendiary slurs to describe us to passersby.

First, we asked these individuals to respect our materials, our right to table, and our personal space. When they refused to move and began to escalate, we requested support from PIELC organizers—both for our physical safety and to support our right to engage with the public at our informational table. Event organizers responded quickly and professionally.

Did you call the cops?

No. DGR activists notified event organizers about the disruption. As far as we know, they contacted campus security, who then made the decision to call the police.

What did the police do?

The police told the individuals that they had no right to block access to our table (or any table).  Police then gave the individuals the choice to move to their own space, or to face trespassing charges.

Eventually, the individuals moved to the side of DGR’s table and continued to hold signs and disparage DGR to passersby for the remainder of the day.

What happened at the library?

On March 4th, Derrick Jensen (one of the co-founders of DGR) held a public talk at the Eugene Public Library. His talk, which was about the destruction of the planet and the patriarchal violation imperative, was met with such vocal and threatening hostility that Derrick was forced to hire security from a private local security firm.

Throughout Derrick’s talk, a cohort of disruptive individuals shouted at and disparaged the speaker, rushed the stage, released “fart bombs,” coughed loudly, and ultimately made so much noise that they violated the library’s free speech policy. In response to these escalating, juvenile violations of Derrick’s right to speak and the audience’s right to hear his talk, library security called the police. The police then removed several disruptive individuals, who violated library policy, refused to leave when asked, and therefore were trespassing.

To reiterate, DGR did not call the police. We held a public event in a previously reserved public venue with its own free speech policies. Individuals who chose to violate those policies, even after multiple warnings from security and then police, are responsible for the consequences of their own actions.

Video coverage of the event is available at the following link:

Why is DGR accused of transphobia?

Deep Green Resistance has been accused of transphobia not because of transphobic policies or actions, but because we maintain a feminist critique of gender.

DGR does not condone dehumanization or violence against anyone, including people who describe themselves as transgender. Universal human rights are universal. DGR has a strong code of conduct against violence and abuse. Anyone who violates that code is no longer a member.

Disagreeing with someone, however, is not a form of violence. And we have a big disagreement.

As radical feminists, we are critical of gender itself. We are not gender reformists–we are gender abolitionists. We see nothing in the creation of gender to celebrate or embrace. Patriarchy is a corrupt and brutal arrangement of power, and we want to see it dismantled so that the category of gender no longer exists.

As radical feminists, we also believe that women have the right to define their boundaries and decide who is allowed in their spaces. We believe all oppressed groups have that right.

Interested to learn more? You can read a more comprehensive response to this question, here.