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Racism in the UK

by Ben Warner / Deep Green Resistance UK

“The first thing you do is to forget that I’m Black. Second, you must never forget that I’m Black.”

Pat Parker, For the White Person Who Wants to Know How to be My Friend

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The UK has never stopped being a racist country, but the vote to leave the EU has given more confidence to many racists. Racist attacks are on the rise. Now more than ever, “white people” like me need to use our privileges to support groups like Black Lives Matter.

A friend of mine who was born in the UK and is of Pakistani origin, was surprised when the “nice” old white lady he had escorted out of the hospital where he works said “Ohh, you’re such a lovely boy, almost makes me wish I hadn’t voted out.” We laughed about it. Her comment displayed so much ignorance it was scarcely believable, but as you peel away one layer, another becomes visible. This casual comment helps to reveal the truth that racism is based on ignorance.

There is no scientific basis for a categorisation of humanity into races of any kind. The commonly used nomenclature of black and white is particularly troublesome and unfounded. It is physiologically unfounded because in the entire history of humanity no human has ever been born with black or white skin. It is troublesome because in the English language white has almost exclusively positive associations, whereas black has largely negative ones. Humans have been arbitrarily labeled by the lighter skinned males who have held power in our culture since its inception. This labeling has been done as part of a “divide and conquer” strategy, a trick which has served the powerful well for millennia. We cannot let this process continue.

For those who doubt that the UK remains an institutionally racist country, a quick look at the statistics may help to change your mind. In 2015, 3000 UK police were being investigated for alleged assault against members of the public. Only 2% of them were suspended for these actions. In the West Midlands, black and Asian police were four times more likely to be suspended than their white colleagues. In the same region, black and Asian people were 3.5 times more likely to report being assaulted. In London, 55% of the victims of police assault were people of colour.

Across the UK, people of colour are 3 times more likely to be tasered by police, at least 6 times more likely to be stopped and searched, and more likely to be strip searched. Since 1990, over 500 black and Asian people have died in police custody – over a third of the total – yet only 14% of the British population are people of colour. Not one police officer has been successfully prosecuted for any of these murders, though many of them were a result of excessive force or negligence. Police officers have said that little has changed in the mindset of the police force since 1999, when it was found to be institutionally racist by the white judge Sir William Macpherson.

People of colour are twice as likely to be unemployed than whites, and black people are almost 3 times more likely to be unemployed than any other population in the UK. Black people are also 44% more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act than whites. Compared to their white counterparts, black people are 17 times more likely to be diagnosed with a psychotic illness. Despite there being no evidence that black people are more aggressive than whites, mental health staff are more likely to perceive them as being potentially violent, more likely to prescribe drugs (and at higher doses) or other physical treatments, as opposed to psychotherapy or counseling. GPs are also more likely to put black people into the hands of the police rather than the hands of mental health service providers.

Additionally, black people are more likely to get cancer at a younger age and more likely to die of it than the rest of the population. Not enough research has been done to uncover the exact reasons for this which, is indicative of the lack of concern that our society has for black people. However, if we accept that the UK is institutionally racist, one reason becomes obvious. Why would a black person go to a GP if they know s/he is likely to refer them to the police and that the police are a racist institution? Is it better to ignore a symptom of cancer or risk being handed over to the police by a doctor who will most likely be a white middle class male? Bearing all this in mind, it should not surprise anyone that rates of depression are 60% higher for people in ethnic minority groups than for whites.

These statistics should be shocking for any sane person. However, being shocked is not enough. We also need to act. White people are not immune to the social programming that is a part of our culture. I want to end racism, but I have been taught to be racist by the white supremacist society I was raised in. White people should work through education and direct action to dismantle the racism, in themselves and in society. We should work to respect, listen, support and encourage the voices and leadership of people of colour.

We should work to counter the efforts of white supremacists and fascists groups, whether by challenging racist individuals whenever they make racist comments or by resisting racist organisations which continue to encourage or practice racism. We need to educate ourselves about the long history of the struggle against racism. We need to work to dismantle the racist institutions (housing, education, criminal in-justice, banking, culture, media, extraction, and so on) that help to maintain white supremacy. We must remember that when we choose to fight racism and imperialism, we are joining a protracted, centuries-old struggle, which indigenous people and people of color have always been on the front lines of. As white people, we must allow those who have experienced these histories first hand to inform our resistance.

DGR UK Autumn 2016 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

In March we facilitated a workshop at Grow Heathrow. It was a lively and interesting debate focused on Civilisation. We talked about why DGR believes the murder of the biosphere is caused by civilisation. Although not all the participants agreed, there was some support, many good questions were asked and the discussion ended with everyone on friendly terms.

DGR UK members launched the Rights of Nature UK campaign in June. We are campaigning for nature to have legal rights in the same way as humans and animals. CELDF in the US has successfully supported 30 communities to get Rights of Nature laws enacted. Is a part of nature under threat where you live? If not would you like to help with the campaign? If so get in touch:  (campaign@rightsofnature.uk); website; facebook.

In July, Lierre Keith spoke in London at the long-awaited Thinking Differently conference (videos to follow soon). Lierre arranged to meet with Radical Feminist activists in London the day after the conference. About twenty women attended to discuss a number of pressing issues, including how the environmental and feminist communities can support each other more in their struggles. Lively discussion ensued with topics ranging from the US election to Teresa May’s swift decision to abolish the Department for Energy and Climate Change. There is growing recognition that environmentalists and feminists along with anti-racists, anti-capitalists and others share a common enemy. It is important that these varying groups build effective alliances. For this to happen, groups need to be open to radical feminist analyses. More joint meetings and exchanges of ideas will follow.

DGR Scotland launched in August. They have a facebook group with a website to follow soon. It is an exciting time for DGR Scotland to be taking off with hopes getting higher that we can break from our UK colonial status, from our role of providing a large part of our territory as hunting playground for the rich, with having no say over having UK nuclear subs parked near to our major city and our being dragged into illegal wars.

Finally, we’re making a change to how we post DGR UK news. For the last 3 years, we’ve been posting regularly to the DGR UK blog and then sending out very irregular e-newsletters. This is changing so that everyone on the e-newsletter list will get email alerts when we post to the DGR UK blog (which is about once per month) and there won’t be any more e-newsletters. You can of course unsubscribe from these if you wish using the link at the bottom of each notification email.

For the Wild!

The DGR UK Team

The Situation in the British Countryside

by Julian Langer / Deep Green Resistance UK

In Europe, we have conveniently forgotten the devastation this culture has inflicted (and continues to inflict) on the continent. In the USA and Australia, where the ecocide, specicide, and genocide committed by colonial forces are far more recent, people have a harder time pretending to be unaware of the effects. In Europe, we’ve lost the majority of (and are losing the last of) the primeval forestlands, once the face of this landscape and home to a diverse biotic community stretching across the bioregion. In Europe, we ignore this culture’s destruction of indigenous communities and those trying to live in truly sustainable ways.

In Britain, those in positions of authority are intent on decreasing rather than increasing institutional protection of our biotic communities. With so much at stake, we must take on the responsibility for protection ourselves. I describe here four examples which deserve support from people across Britain. These are local to my home in Devon; wherever you live, you can get involved in an important struggle to protect the remaining biotic communities in Britain.

Manning’s Pit

Manning's PitManning’s Pit in North Devon is an area of profound natural beauty. Developers, though acknowledging its high biodiversity, seek to build new human housing against the desires of the near-by community. Devon’s dominant natural features are grasses, broken up by hedges to mark differing areas of farmland, woodlands full of bird song and coastal areas whose faces are defined by the sea. As someone who lives here, it is personally saddening to witness increasing development and urbanisation. In a more politically relevant sense though, it is awful as this is the increasing encroachment of this culture on the natural world and the subsequent lose of biodiversity that results in.

It’s an area comprised of Devonshire grasslands and patches of woodland; one of the last remaining homes for the bat, hedgehog and other communities of local wildlife left after agriculture and now urbanisation have left their marks. I fear what will be lost if the developers are allowed to build upon this area or others like it. While local people have a petition going and are appealing to the government for protection, should these institutional means fail, it will become necessary to resist this development directly, be that through occupation of the land, through acts of sabotage or whatever will work.

Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor National ParkIn Britain the national parks represent the last of our natural landscape, before urbanisation, industrialism and other destructive effects of this culture. They are areas of beauty, where what is left of the natural biotic communities able to exist away from this culture. However, with drastic cuts to the institutional apparatus keeping the Dartmoor national park going and a 25% staff reduction threatened by the government, the future of this area is threatened. It is all too likely that Dartmoor will be sold into private hands, who will pay no heed to the habitats and biotic communities in their pursuit of profit. The woodland community that attempt to live on Dartmoor in such a way that takes responsibility for the environment are already under threat and face being removed. They’re hunter-gatherers attempting to live a way of life this landscape can support.

Clearly the powers that be are more interested in maintaining the status quo of this culture (austerity measures to support a collapsing neoliberal economy) than they are in the land-base. Dartmoor is home to frogs, toads, snakes, slow worms, lizards, buzzards, cuckcoos, ravens, skylarks, owls, peregrine falcons, song thrushes, salmon, trout, dartmoor ponies, foxes, badgers, rabbits, squirrels, hares, stoats, weasels and deer, as well as a huge array of flora, including endangered plant species. To lose this to further destruction would be to lose one of the last strongholds for the natural biotic-communities that covered the length and breadth of Britain. Like with Manning’s Pit, if the institutional measures fail, it is the role of activists to protect this area and areas like it, through both aboveground and underground measures.

Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station

The first new UK nuclear power station in a generation may be built at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The energy conglomerate EDF will soon make its final decision whether to build Hinkley Point C power station, and although the project has faced considerable delays amidst backlash from environmental groups including Greenpeace, a decision to proceed looks increasingly probable. Chernobyl and Fukushima gave us glimpses into worst case scenarios, but even without an extreme emergency the dangers around disposal of nuclear waste are reason enough to resist this possibility in the South West’s future.

High-level radioactive waste from nuclear power stations is primarily uranium fuel, and its hazardous radiation can take longer than 24,000 years to decay. None of the methods of storage and disposal are perfect, and some are outright dangerous. With EDF poised to finalise the decision to build Hinkley Point C power station, environmentalists and activists in the UK need to defend the land and resist the corporate-hegemony of this energy conglomerate.

Badger “Culls”

Finally, farmers covering up poor farming practices are fuelling an active campaign in specicide towards badger communities across the South West. These farmers, desiring removal of the badger’s status as a legally protected animal, are driving a scientifically invalid and barbarically cruel cull done in the name of protecting cattle against TB.

Badgers are an integral part of biodiversity in the region and in seeing their sets in banks and woodlands, you are reminded that, despite everything, there is still life on this island. This life represents the last of a multitude that were part of the community that characterised this land, before the dominance of this culture and human exceptionalism. Hunt Sab resistance groups are opposing this campaign and other acts of cruelty to animals, and need support if this supposedly protected animal is going to survive. The cull zone has been extended to right across the South West UK so resistance is highly needed, from both activists and those not politically active.

Conclusion

So this is the situation in the British countryside. This culture is destroying what is left of the natural world. Immediately, in the area I live in, there are four important grassroots struggles, with many others across this island. Campaigns such as Rights of Nature UK strive for institutional protection of the natural communities with whom we share these islands. These forms of protections are highly valuable, particularly as incremental means of resisting this culture. Unfortunately, the weaknesses of laws such as those banning fox hunting, or those granting badgers status as a protected species, show that institutional measures are by no means enough. Those of us who value the natural world must fight to defend the natural biotic community and to resist this culture’s violent onslaught, in all the ways we can.

Deep Green Resistance UK on the Brexit

Julian Langer / Deep Green Resistance UK

As a radical environmentalist group defending the living world, Deep Green Resistance UK (DGR-UK) advocates that activists consider any and all means available in our fight. This includes institutional means such as voting. While it is questionable that either Brexit option will significantly impact this culture’s relentless assault on the living world, or its treatment of other cultures, DGR-UK asks that you consider the following aspects.

The EU’s main “mission” is the formation of a centralised superstate, the modern manifestation of the empires throughout history. Who benefits the most from this superstate? The multinationals of neoliberal globalization, the industries and corporations destroying and polluting the living world. While being part of this “community” provides individualistic benefits for British people, these don’t justify our remaining part of this abhorrent institution. Rentier monopoly corporations and tax dodging elites freely flourish within the political body of the EU. And though Boris Johnson’s Third Reich comments were completely moronic, EU nations such as Hungary, France and Austria are seeing significant rises in their right-wing and ultra-nationalist parties. Being part of this “community” does not present the progressive prospects argued by many in the “remain” camp.

Greece gives a clear picture of the problematic future we should expect if the TTIP era of politics and economics continues unchecked. Anyone from a broadly left-wing anti-capitalist position will oppose such developments. Remaining in the EU would mandate our inclusion in this “partnership,” whose sole purpose is to make it easier for American and European businesses to conduct the practices we as activists resist. Do we really want to be included in this undemocratic and tyrannical trade agreement?

The EU is little more than a new form of colonialism. This is apparent in activities such as the “Pan-African initiative”, which continues a long history of violence and abuse in the continent. These Eurafrican policies put African people in extremely vulnerable positions of racial stratification and violence, directly rooted in Europe’s posturing. The resulting corruption has a huge impact on the lives of Africans and on the lives of African wildlife. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Africa’s poaching crisis, with its links to the ivory trade and cartels colluding with corrupt African officials. Do we want to be part of and support a political body which is worsening the situation in Africa? Corruption, sustained by Eurafrican political arrangements and neoliberal globalization, is worsening poverty and decimating species central to African bioregions. Consider this as you cast your vote.

Finally, consider the environmental effects of a Brexit. Deals that the EU are involved with, such as the Paris Climate Deal are completely worthless, with just promises, no action. With the world in a “now or never” situation, can we really afford promises without actions? Will promises halt global warming? Will promises protect the habitats and species at risk from climate change? Clearly, they wont. We are likely to see the same responses to environmental issues within the EU in the future: promises, with no action. Brexit would enable the UK to set stricter environmental legislation, improving UK ecology, which needs to be at the forefront of all political decisions. We need to act in the best interest of the flora and fauna with whom we share these islands. We are not hopeful that if we leave the EU, the Tories or Labour Party will take needed action, but we question remaining part of a political body which restricts the very possibility.

Neither a remain nor a leave decision will have a drastic impact on any of these issues: the establishment at any level won’t allow changes which undermine the status quo of this culture. But in our work as activists, we need to do all we can to support the living world, including voting for incremental improvements. To remain in the EU has obvious benefits for British people, but are these reasons of capitalist-ideological-individualism good enough? Regardless of whether you vote in this referendum, DGR-UK ask you to consider what it really means to be part of the EU.

Deep Green Resistance UK Winter 2016 Newsletter

DGR UK attended and organised a few events through Autumn 2015. We’ve moved forward with two of the areas we decided to focus on at last years strategy meeting.

DGR UK members attended the London Climate March on November 29th. We spent most of the march at the front by the “’Wretched of the Earth’ bloc, representing communities of colour on the frontlines of climate change.” Read this damning report back of how this group was treated by the liberal march organisers. I’m sure most of you won’t be surprised by what you read.

On November 19th we organised a private event with Lierre Keith (author of the DGR book) in NW London. About twenty five attended and we had an interesting discussion about radical feminism and how it relates to DGR and ending industrial civilisation. Everyone seemed to get something out of it and there was talk of organising another similar event (without Lierre) in 2016.

On October 25th, Adam and Ben visited Grow Heathrow in West London. Adam gave a DGR introductory talk and Ben followed with a workshop exploring the problems of civilisation. Thanks to Grow Heathrow for the invite.

If you would like to host a DGR UK talk/event where you are, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch by emailing uk@deepgreenresistance.org

The Earth First Winter Moot 2016 is on February 19-21 in Stroud. Hope to see you there.

Love and Rage,

DGR UK Team

Writings on climate change by DGR UK member

Julian Langer of DGR UK has been writing for the DGR News Service and for the main DGR Blog. You can read his recent pieces:

How many bright greens does it take to change a light bulb? How many dark greens does it take to smash one?

#EPICFAIL in Paris: COP21

Subscribe to the News Service and the main blog to stay up-to-date on DGR news and writing.

DGR UK Summer 2015 Newsletter

Dear friends,

DGR UK has had an exciting year so far. With numbers growing, DGR UK had a strategy meeting in May with an interesting discussion on where to focus our energy. We decided on three broad areas:

1. attending UK protests and marches to show our solidarity and support for the events

2. start brainstorming DGR UK campaigns and actions

3. contact allies and groups with a shared outlook to work together

We have started moving forward with all these areas. DGR UK members attended the London Anti-Austerity march on June 20th.

DGR UK members attended the Reclaim the Power camp in May and got involved in one of the actions.

DGR UK members attended and helped with the organisation/running of the Earth First Summer Gathering. It was a very well attended and enjoyable gathering and we look forward to next years.

Three groups in London have contacted DGR UK to request we attend their meetings to speak about Deep Green Resistance. Some of these will be public events so we will share the dates once they are confirmed.

DGR UK members will be at the COP21 London climate change march on November 29th, hope to see you there.

Love and rage,

The DGR UK Team

Report-back on Himalayan visit

himalayan-culture-sDGR UK members Elliott and Rachel recently visited the Himalayan mountains, in part to see how traditional cultures live. Elliott shares an account of their experiences, describing the negative impacts of civilisation. He concludes:

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.

Read the entire piece at Deep Green Resistance Blog: Civilisation’s assault on traditional Himalayan cultures

Deep Green Resistance UK at anti-austerity march

deep-green-resistance-uk-austerity-protestOn the morning of 20th June, some members of Deep Green Resistance UK met outside the Bank of England in London to join hundreds of thousands of people on the anti-austerity march to Parliament Square.

We decided to join the march to show opposition to the proposed public spending cuts that would disproportionately affect lower classes, women, and people from ethnic minorities. Government figures show the cut are only necessary because of the hundreds of billions of pounds spent to bailout bankers in 2008, and also could be avoided if international corporations were forced to pay tax.

The day was peaceful and had a carnival-like atmosphere with music, dancing in the streets, elaborate costumes, and people from a range of backgrounds coming together to unite around a common belief.

We held a DGR UK banner and handed out hundreds of leaflets to people who either hadn’t heard of us and were curious to know more, or had heard of us on the internet and were happy to see us on the streets. It was the inaugural unfurling of the DGR UK banner, putting us officially on the map. This is only the beginning. . .

Why voting won’t save Life ― and what to do instead

By Ben Ludd

On the 7th of May the UK will hold a special ceremony to help the populace decide exactly how the last remaining bits of flourishing, diverse, living communities will be torn apart and turned into dead commodities. No matter which party is elected, soils will not stop being eroded, forests will continue to be turned into lifeless deserts or shopping malls, dams will still imprison rivers and destroy ecosystems, global CO2 levels will continue to increase and white men with illusory power and no love will continue to subjugate the masses. In short it will be business as usual for the industrial economy.

On that day I will honour the people who died for the right to vote by deliberately spoiling my ballot, not out of apathy, as I am politically active in numerous ways. I spoil my ballot because I am disgusted by the choice that a cross in the right box would indicate. I am appalled by the culture we have created, where people barely notice the most horrifying statistics. How many species went extinct this week? How many people are still in slavery? How many women were raped today? How many fish are left in the sea? How many trees still stand?

I doubt the political candidates know the answers to these questions and if they do, that they have any wish to end the culture of abuse and occupation that causes these shocking figures. For sadly, this is the reality of our civilisation. Through the belief that the “Earth belongs to us,” our culture has made a mess of it and continues to poison and destroy the living communities that we rely on for our existence. How many litres of polluted water do you need to drink before you die? How much radiation will cause birth defects? How many bees need to die before we start running out of food? How much poisoned air can we breathe before our lungs collapse?

There are other ways. We could think “We belong to the Earth, this is our home and we will do anything to protect it.” This is what we believe in Deep Green Resistance and this is one of the reasons I am a member. We also have a plan to save life from the monster called industrial civilisation.

It doesn’t involve voting.

It involves creating a culture of resistance that uses the effective methods of previously successful resistance movements. We call it Decisive Ecological Warfare, and we invite you to read it, think about it, and then join us in action.