My 49¢ worth of frustration

Contributed by Ishmael, a Deep Green Resistance supporter

Mr. President,

You have been a disappointment. I voted for you, twice. You have had seven years to “get it
right,” and yet the United States still initiates new military operations in the Middle East, supplies
arms and munitions to our allies regardless of their human rights record, equivocated at COP21
on a binding agreement to stave off environmental apocalypse, and you just signed the bill to
allow export of domestic oil abroad. Why didn’t you veto it?

I resent what is being done in my name on my dime, as do many taxpayers. Is your chief
concern ensuring first that Amerikan corporate tentacles reach every corner of the globe, and if
in the process the world is made safe for democracy that will be the icing on the cake? God
forbid that there should be one sovereign nation unwilling to wrap itself in the stars and stripes.

Your joking with aides about being “good at killing” (true: you make GWB look like a piker)
and publicly warning your daughters’ heart-throbs that you can authorize a drone strike anytime
anywhere (“You’ll never see it coming, boys.”) are obscene hubris.

By the way, thanks for just saying “No” to KXL. Maybe the Down Elevator will stop at
Purgatory and let you off.

Like Ishmael, Deep Green Resistance members have come to realize that those in power do not serve the people. The only way to achieve real change is by organizing and applying force – whether political, or economic, or more direct. To get involved, browse these options on our website:

On leaderlessness and strategy: reflections on Occupy Wall Street

Deep Green Resistance believes strongly that for a social movement to be effective, it must have a strategy: a clear path to get from where we are now to where we want to be instead. Effective leadership is also necessary, and should be nurtured. Jo Freeman’s classic essay “The Tyranny of Structurelessness” addresses the folly of believing a group can or should operate without leaders; in the absence of a formal planned structure, informal and often undesirable bids for power will inevitably arise.

A new essay by Yotam Marom, sharing lessons from the Occupy Wall Street movement, confirms the importance both of strategy and of fostering good leadership. Marom attributes the collapse of OWS in large part to the deliberate tearing down of leaders and general in-fighting, And without a viable strategy, people in movements are at risk of losing focus on the goals, and instead get sucked into horizontal hostility:

We call each other out and push one another out of the movement, because we are desperate to cling to the little slivers of belonging we’ve found in the movement, and are full of scarcity — convinced that there isn’t enough of anything to go around (money, people, power, even love). We eat ourselves alive and attack our own leaders because we’ve been hurt and misled all our lives and can’t bear for it to happen again on our watch. We race to prove we are the least privileged, because this is the only way we can imagine being powerful. We turn our backs on people who don’t get it, because organizing them will not only be hard but also painful, because we will have to give up some of our victimhood to do it, because it will mean being vulnerable to the world we came to the movement to escape. Our ego battles are a natural product of a movement that doesn’t have a clear answer for how leadership is to be appreciated and held accountable at the same time. Our inability to celebrate small victories is a defense from having to believe that winning is even possible — a way to avoid the heartbreak of loss when it comes.

And perhaps most importantly: Our tendency to make enemies of each other is driven by a deep fear of the real enemy, a paralyzing hopelessness about our possibilities of winning. After all, whether we admit it or not, we spend quite a lot of our time not believing we can really win. And if we’re not going to win, we might as well just be awesome instead. If we’re not going to win, we’re better off creating spaces that suit our cultural and political tastes, building relationships that validate our non-conformist aesthetic, surrendering the struggle over the future in exchange for a small island over which we can reign.

DGR’s strength lies in our realistic plan, Decisive Ecological Warfare, to obtain ecological and social justice. We have a clear focus, a sense that we actually can win, and strong leaders to organize group efforts toward our shared goals. We invite you to join us, and we encourage all activists to proactively develop structures that make sense for their groups.

Read the entire essay by Yotam Marom: The inside story on what really caused the Occupy Wall Street movement to collapse

Unlearning alienation: a crucial component of a revolutionary movement

Michael Regenfuss / Deep Green Resistance Bay Area

Michael gave a talk at this year’s annual DGR conference on the subject of overcoming alienation, quoting some pertinent passages from The Sorcerer of Bolinas Reef by Charles Reich. He elaborates on those thoughts here.

What is alienation, how did we become afflicted with it, and how do we unlearn it? Alienation is created when you are being systematically undervalued, abused, and traumatized. We have all been undervalued from the day we were born. We are taught not only to expect less out of ourselves, but to expect less out of other people and also to undervalue the non-human part of nature.

Alienation gets built up layer by layer over the years through a process of false conditioning, which can get into your consciousness without your being aware that it is happening. The process of alienation is a learned thing, and so it can be unlearned. You can unlearn on your own, but it’s easier and faster if you have the help of others to facilitate the unlearning process. All you have to do is first decide that you are going to do this, and then find other like minded people, and form an affinity group that focuses on personal growth and real community.

The earth’s survival is the number one priority and needs to be our main focus, but there must be an emphasis placed on fundamental personal growth too. If you engage in this part of the revolution, it will not only improve your own lives, but make you a better activist and help guard against burnout.

Reich’s book is a great educational tool that will help you to learn more how alienation works, and it has countless insights as to how to unlearn it. The way to read the book is to read 8 to 10 pages at a time, set it down and think critically about what you’ve read, and then read the next 8 to 10 pages. By reading it this way you will hopefully begin to comprehend the whole difficult concept of alienation.

#EPICFAIL in Paris: COP21

Julian Langer / Deep Green Resistance UK

The President of the USA, Obama, is describing the Paris Climate Deal as a turning point for the world. The delegates stand up and applaud, in congratulations of this supposedly historic event in contemporary political history.

…… I’m sorry, but, what?!

James Hansen, among other experts, has already articulated criticism of this deal – “It’s a fraud really, a fake. It’s just bullshit …” and honestly, do we need more bullshit?

Al Gore and business leaders are claiming this deal might be the trigger for the end of the fossil fuel era, but emissions aren’t expected to peak until 2030. That’s more than 5000 days before peak emissions, 5000 days of everything getting even worse. Civilization is already driving 200 species extinct every day – to quote Lierre Keith “They were my kin. They were yours too”.

Even from a purely anthropocentric perspective, the situation is bad and getting worse. Low-lying coastal states are already at a critical point, facing the cost of rising sea levels in their daily lives. Even the UK, in a far better situation to respond to this worsening crisis, is facing the devastating consequences of this culture’s way of life. We’ve seen climate change trigger the current refugee crisis in Europe, and today’s business-as-usual will make the future crisis even worse.

I’ll rephrase my previous question – can we afford (in terms of lives, not money) more bullshit?

It is time for us to reclaim environmentalism from the clutches of those wishing to make the destruction of our planet “sustainable.” It is time to create a culture of resistance to protect the natural world from the demands of this culture.

We just lost two million hectares of forest and two years to prevent runaway climate change…

…but at least they released the trailer for the new Star Wars film.

Julian Langer / Deep Green Resistance UK

Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

Children are choking to death and being prepared for evacuation as forest fires ravage Indonesia in what is probably the most severe environmental disaster of the 21st century. Endangered orangutans are losing their homes and food sources, which, obviously, has a severe knock on effect for their survival. Every day, the carbon emissions from these fires equals those from the USA, and we all know how much Americans love to be “green”.

“Apocalyptic hellish scene” said Ben Henschke of BBC Indonesia. This is a tragic event of unparalleled proportion, but what is this culture talking about? Star Wars!

What is the (extremely) probable cause of this devastation? Corruption and corporate greed! Already there is palm oil being grown illegally on the decimated remains of the forest homes of orangutans. Palm oil giants, sourcing from independent smallholders, are profiteering from what is choking children to death, but what trends on Twitter? Star Wars.

“It’s no wonder we don’t defend the land where we live. We don’t live here. We live in television programs and movies and books and with celebrities and in heaven and by rules and laws and abstractions created by people far away and we live anywhere and everywhere except in our particular bodies on this particular land at this particular moment in these particular circumstances.”

― Derrick Jensen, Endgame, Vol. 2: Resistance

Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner?

Book review by Daphne Francis of Deep Green Resistance

I have just enjoyed reading Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner? by Katrine Marcal, translated from her Swedish into English and published by Portobello books in 2015. It certainly is a change for me to find an economics book not only informative and accurate, but also highly readable and even entertaining, with at times trenchant analysis and cutting comments.

Marcal is not the first to highlight the absence of care work, done mostly by women, from calculations of Gross National Product and the decisions of that fabricated entity ‘economic man’. When valued at all, this work is severely undervalued. But for me she breaks new ground in stating that, if the body was taken seriously as the starting point for the economy, it would have far-reaching results. In her words “a society organised around the shared needs of human bodies would be very different from the one we know today.”

She dissects the notion of economic man which has now become such a keystone economic assumption that even our feelings of love and care are treated as preferences and impersonal sets of desires. This reduction reaches a low point in an analysis that “Faking ecstasy in bed is part of a ‘rational signaling model’.” Books have actually been published with the sickening title (and probably more sickening content) of how to Find a Husband after 35: (Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School) – a damning indictment of that particular academic icon. The body is turned into human capital. The disposal of radioactive waste can be sorted by cash payments to the desperately poor. Whether we shut down a life becomes a business decision; there is no more meaning in death than is left in life. Whilst the focus of Marcal’s analysis is on the erasure of women, readers of this blog will be all too aware of the effect of economic man on the rest of the natural world as well.

Finally, who did cook the illustrious classical economist’s dinner and organise his domestic life? We have to wait for the final chapter of the book to bring to life the story of this key part of Adam Smith’s economy, a woman he effectively erased from the celebrated text into which so much of her life energy went. I won’t spoil the revelation but leave you to find out for yourself the full story behind Adams Smith’s academic output.

Dezeray Lyn interviews Khaden Adnam, Palestinian resister

Dezeray Lyn just returned from Palestine where she was working as an international observer, activist, and author. She defended Palestinian families’ homes scheduled to be demolished, assisted with the olive harvest, documented human rights abuses, and witnessed the atrocities and the ongoing Israeli occupation.

Khader Adnan, a baker with a degree in Mathematical economics currently working towards his master degree in Israeli studies in Al Quds University, father and a former captive of Israeli occupation prisons has brought himself to the brink of death by starvation twice in protestation of the illegal system of jailing of occupied Palestinians termed Administrative Detention.

During this trip, Dezeray sat down and spoke with Adnan, one of Palestine’s heroes. Her piece clearly defines what ongoing resistance IS. Read the entire article: “Portrait with Fire: Khader Adnan”.

From the Deep Green Resistance book: “A culture of resistance exists to encourage and promote organized political resistance, nurturing the will to fight. It helps people break their psychological identification with the oppressive system and create a new identity based on self-respect and solidarity. It offers the emotional support of a functioning community that believes in resistance as well as an intellectually vibrant atmosphere that encourages analysis, discussion, and the development of political consciousness. It produces cultural products like poems, songs, and art organized around the theme of resistance. It builds the new institutions that will take over as the corrupt ones come down. And it provides loyalty and material support to the aboveground frontline resisters and political prisoners.”

DGR members harassed at US / Canada border

Adam Federman wrote last summer about FBI harassment of Deep Green Resistance members, and now follows up on an incident last week, in which three DGR members were held for hours trying to get into Canada, turned back, and then held for several more hours before finally being allowed back into the US. Border crossing agents interrogated the DGR members, and took their computers out of sight for hours – presumably searching them for any useful data, and possibly installing malware to permanently compromise them.

Following on the rash of FBI contacts, this seems more than coincidental. Though annoying, it’s mostly harmless, at least for now. It’s important to remain aware of the risks of targeting by federal and state officials in various roles, to be ready for legal defense if necessary, and to prepare carefully for situations such as border crossings where activists are particularly vulnerable. This incident validates the need for a firewall between aboveground activists and any hypothetical underground: those of us who make ourselves public in our opposition to power will be targeted and scrutinized. Only those who stay off the radar can carry out illegal actions with a reasonable level of safety.

Read about the latest incident: Deep Green Resistance activists interrogated at US-Canada border

Climate Change Painting Series

Andrew Carr has painted a series depicting weatherpeople of the 2010-2014 era reporting on extreme weather events. Each painting links to further details on the event depicted.

Broken Records reveals many faces of climate change – from the slaphappy smiles of our weather prophets to the extreme weather events afflicting nations across the geographic and political spectrums.

Broken Records is a time capsule of inaction, circa 2010-2014. In 50 years, as the children of both believers and disbelievers face the long term consequences of climate change, they will wonder how we could have forecasted our doom with such sexually-infused, hyperactive ignorance.

Aesthetically, weather reports provided another opportunity to use “my colors” – the vivid, intense hues also seen in Game Shows and Prom Girls. I did not paint from still images, but rather clipped together the most apt elements of various weather reports to convey a time, a culture, and a missed opportunity to panic.

View the paintings at Broken Records.

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.