Survey: Why did you choose aboveground work?

Land defense and social justice work are necessary for healthy human and non-human communities, but any victories will be irrelevant if industrial civilization makes the planet literally unlivable. The system must be stopped before it triggers irreversible runaway climate change and ecological collapse, and only strategic underground attacks against critical infrastructure will stop it. There are many hard working activists in the aboveground struggle, though we can always use more. Unfortunately, as far as we can tell, vanishingly few people are carrying out the necessary attacks against industrial bottlenecks and weak points in infrastructure. Underground promotion remains the most important work for those of us in the aboveground.

To help us better understand the barriers to formation of an underground, we’re surveying those who have committed to aboveground work. If you’ve joined a radical aboveground group, publicly stated your support of ecosabotage, engaged in environmental civil disobedience, or otherwise drawn attention to your strong enviro-political beliefs, we want to learn the reasons behind your decision.

Please take a few minutes to let us know why you chose an aboveground path, rather than underground work. You can fill out the short anonymous survey here, email us, or leave a comment. Thanks!

Squeeze Every Drop of Slave’s Blood Out of Ourselves

Editor’s note: this is an edited transcript of Derrick Jensen’s talk, which you can listen to here.

 

What does it mean to decolonize my heart and mind, and how do I go about doing that?

    by Derrick Jensen / Deep Green Resistance

Many indigenous people have said to me that the first and most important thing we have to do is decolonize our hearts and minds. Part of what that means is to question every assumption that you ever had about the way life is. Many indigenous people have told me the most important difference between indigenous and western ways of being is that even the most open-minded westerners perceive listening to the natural world as a metaphor rather than a literal action. Indigenous people around the world generally perceive the world as consisting of other beings to enter into relationship with and to whom we have responsibility, as opposed to resources for us to exploit.

“When I look at trees I see dollar bills.”

If you look at trees and see dollar bills, you‘re going to treat them one way. If  you look at trees and see trees, you‘ll treat them another way. And if you look at this particular tree and see this particular tree, you‘ll treat them differently still. The same is true of course for women, which is one reason I am so completely opposed to pornography; when I look at women and I see orifices, I‘ll treat them one way; if I look at women and I see women I‘ll treat them another way, and if I look at this particular woman and I see this particular woman I‘ll treat her differently still.

How you perceive the world affects how you behave in the world. So, a lot of the decolonizing is to change unquestioned assumptions that control how you perceive and act in the world.

A young writer approached Anton Tschechow and said he wanted to write a story and he didn’t know what to write. So Tschechow said: “I want you to write a story about a man, who squeezes every drop of slave’s blood out of his body.”

We have been trained since infancy to be slaves to the system. To be addicted to the system. The word “addict” comes from the same root as the word “edict,” and it means “to enslave.” In ancient Rome, a judge would issue an edict, that would addict someone to someone else, that would enslave them.

We are enslaved to the system, and we need to squeeze every drop of slave’s blood out of ourselves. Another way to look at this is to recognize that, as Robert J. Lifton has written about so well, before you can commit any mass atrocity you have to convince yourself that what you‘re doing is not in fact an atrocity, but instead a good thing.

So the Nazis were not committing genocide and mass murder, they were instead purifying the Aryan race. The North American settlers were not committing genocide and mass murder and land theft, they were manifesting their destiny. Today, nobody is killing the planet, they are instead developing natural resources.

I shared a stage with Ward Churchill one time and we were chatting backstage, and I said ”I can‘t believe how stupid the Nazis were to take such careful records of their atrocities, meticulous records of how much gold they pulled from teeth … why would they take such strict records of these terrible actions?” He just looked and me and said, “Derrick, what do you think the GNP is?“ GNP is a very highly detailed description of the conversion of the living to the dead, of the dismemberment of the living planet.

So part of decolonizing is to recognize that things we think are good, like civilization, like industrialism, like developing natural resources, may in fact be quite terrible and atrocious. This is absolutely crucial work. One of the things that happens through this process that is crucial to decolonizing is transfering your loyalty away from the dominant system and toward the landbase. This is pretty much what all of my work is about. Once you transfer your loyalty to the landbase, everything else is just technical, you know, what to do then. But until you do that your loyalty will still be, by definition, with the dominant culture.

When I do resistance radio interviews, I‘m always very clear before the interview that you can be as biocentric and ecocentric as you want. If we‘re talking about the Mississippi River, or talking about the Colorado River, or the Columbia River, I don‘t actually care about agriculture. My loyalty is completely with the river. If the water stays in the Colorado River, I don‘t care if that means that cotton growers will be driven out of business, or that golf courses in Arizona will go dry. Because my loyalty is not with industrial capitalism; my loyalty is with the living planet.

How do we do it? We start to question every assumption. There is a sense in which it‘s very easy and a sense in which it‘s really hard.

The sense in which it‘s very easy is that, like many environmental activists, we begin by wanting to protect a specific piece of ground. But we end up questioning the foundations of western civilization. That‘s because we start to ask questions, and once the questions start they‘ll never stop. So we can ask: why is this land being destroyed? And the answer is usually: because someone is going to make money off of it. Or economic production; it‘s good for the economy. Then you ask: why is most land harmed? Well, it‘s good for the economy.

So then you ask: have all cultures had economies based on destroying their land base? No. And then you ask: what does it mean that you have an economy based on destroying the land base? And then you ask: what is the endpoint of having an economy based on destroying the land base? And of course, the answer is obvious: you destroy the land base, and you destroy the capacity of the earth to support life. As we see.

In that sense decolonizing is really easy. All you have to do is to ask one question. It‘s the same with rape culture. You ask: why was this woman raped? Then you ask: why is any woman raped? Why are so many women raped? Has every culture been a rape culture? And once those questions start, you head back to the roots of the problem. In the case of rape, the patriarchal violation imperative, in the case of civilization, well, civilization’s economic arrangements, and also the patriarchal violation imperative.

In another sense it‘s very hard. You have to give up on everything that brought meaning before. You die, that‘s the point. That‘s a very scary process, and it can be a very painful process, it‘s a process that many of us went through in our twenties. There is that great line by Joseph Campbell: if the signs and symbols of the dominant culture work for you, then there will be a sense of meaning in your life and a sense of accord with the universe. If the signs and the symbols of Catholicism work for you, then you have a 2000 year old path of meaning laid out for you.

If the American Dream works for you, and making money brings you meaning, then you have a couple of hundred years system of meaning set out for you. I would say that meaning is really perverse, but we‘ll leave that. Campbell then says: if those signs and symbols don‘t work for you, then basically you‘ll find your life meaningless, and you‘re set adrift. Then you have to go on what he called a hero journey, and I‘m sorry for the sexism of the language. That‘s the journey, that we all have to find to go through, to find meaning in our own lives.

Life consists of a series of deaths and rebirths. It‘s pretty extraordinary that the central message of the Jesus story is completely missed. It‘s not that Jesus was a real human being who died and then was resurrected; instead it‘s that for a new part of us to be born, an old part of us has to die. This is true in any case. When we are in our late teens and early twenties, we have to die as children to be born as adults. That part is left behind, and a new part emerges. That can be incredibly painful and scary, which is why cultures around the world have had social means by which the young people would be shepherded through that process.

We don‘t have that. We certainly don‘t have any social approval for it. Instead, people are pulled back into the culture at every moment. This culture tries to bring us back through television, through books, through economically forcing you to stay in the system, making you economically dependent upon the system by telling you that you are a consumer, and not a citizen or a human animal who needs habitat. It‘s constantly reinforced. But if you can find another community, a community of people who value living trees over dollars, who value the real world, whose loyalty is with the real world, that can really help this passage.

The really difficult part of decolonizing is that it involves a great definite death and rebirth. A death of faith that the system will work out, a full internalization of the understanding that the dominant culture hates life, and that the dominant culture will kill everything on the planet unless it‘s stopped. That‘s what decolonization feels like; it‘s the death of one‘s loyalty to the system that raised you.

If space aliens had come down from out of space, and were vacuuming the oceans, changing the climate, putting dioxin in every mother‘s breast milk, obliterating the planet and giving us computers, and tomatoes in January, and whatever goodies we want; if space aliens were doing this, most of us would not have a hard time decolonizing because we would see it. But after five, and ten and fifteen generations, people won‘t see it any more.

One of the reasons we‘ve become so stupid about this is because from childhood we pledged allegiance to this culture. We were taught that this culture is more important than a living planet.

Once again, we need to think about this as though it were space aliens who were destroying the planet. Because it doesn’t really matter who is destroying the planet; they are destroying the planet and they need to be stopped.

So for me, the process of decolonizing has, as its very essence, making one‘s loyalty to the real world.

Clarity and Safety: Communicating About Underground Action

From https://dgrnewsservice.org/resistance/communicating-about-underground-action/

Perhaps the single most important aspect of our work as aboveground organizers and activists is to promote and normalize militant, underground resistance against industrial civilization. There is a lot of other important work that we do as well—organizing alternative institutions, landbase restoration, and aboveground political work to dismantle dominant power structures—but ultimately, civilization won’t be stopped (and we won’t be successful) without coordinated and strategic underground action. Working to promote and normalize militancy is incredibly important for aboveground individuals and organizations, because it prepares and tends the soil from which such action will spring. Without this support—a culture of resistance that embraces, celebrates, and promotes underground action—it is much more difficult for underground groups and networks to become established and be effective.

While this is a foremost priority for us, it can also be one of the most difficult parts of our work. Publicly speaking out in support of militancy and a diversity of tactics can be very scary, for entirely valid reasons. There is the fear that it will invite backlash and condemnation from those loyal to the status quo, as well as the fear that it will alienate us from friends and family, and perhaps most daunting of all, there is the fear that those in power will arrest and throw us in jail. Again, these are all perfectly valid fears, and ones that individuals should confront before deciding what they are and aren’t comfortable doing as part of a resistance movement.

That said, there is an array of things we can do and steps we can take to minimize those risks and navigate them more securely. The best thing to do is to familiarize yourself with good security culture practices and fully internalize those behavior patterns until they become automatic. For more on security culture, click here.

In addition to security culture, there are specific ways of talking about underground action that can help to minimize security risk and make your message more appealing and accessible for your audience. What follows are some basic “dos” and “don’ts” that we have learned from our experience speaking and communicating about militant resistance, as well as an overview of several commonly asked questions on the subject and ways to answer them.

Click here to download the full PDF guide (free)

Time is Short: Towards a Revolution

Time is Short: Towards a Revolution December 20, 2017 Deep Green Resistance News Service

     by Max Wilbert / Deep Green Resistance

According to an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in July, the planet is in the midst of the 6th mass extinction event. Strikingly, the scientists who wrote the article call this a “biological annihilation.”

This isn’t a random sequence outcome of a natural societal development. The dominant global culture (industrial civilization) is a culture of imperialism. We can define that as a culture that colonizes and extracts resources as a standard way of operating.

Industrial civilization has become the dominant culture by violence, and violence maintains it.

Timber is ripped from forests and shredded for sale. Rivers are enslaved to irrigate fields and power cities. Oil is burned to propel commerce. Fracking injects poisons into the planet in order to extract even more petrochemicals. Traditional ways of life and sustainable relationships with the land are destroyed, so the only alternative is the toxic (and profitable) cycle of wage labor, debt, and poverty. Patriarchy teaches men to objectify and dominate women, and women to acquiesce. The result is a loss of bodily autonomy to the point that half of all children are unwanted by the mother, and a culture in which eating disorders are a leading cause of death among young women and teenage girls. The legacy of slavery underlies the modern prison system, where vast profits are made by locking up the powerless and oppressed.

As a friend put it, “oppression is always in service of resource extraction.”

The shiny gadgets used to enthrall us are made possible by child miners in the Congo, by workers toiling to the point of mass suicide in Foxconn factories in China, and by the exportation of e-waste to conveniently isolated locations.

And of course, the military, police, and private security (mercenaries) are ready to beat, imprison, or kill anyone who stands in the way of this system. Finally, this culture’s atomized families and recent trends like the rise of neo-liberalism help ensure we remain isolated physically and emotionally, without the strength that comes from being part of a community.

Between the threat of violence, bribery, and the sense of helplessness that comes from isolation, most people aren’t willing to resist. American culture has been built on genocide for 500 years; at this point, most settlers can’t even imagine a society not based on violence.

For those who can, we need to get serious about our strategies.

MYTHICAL STRATEGIES

In the west, and especially in the United States, most activists operate within a mythic framework of non-violent resistance that’s far different than the liberation politics of the 1960’s and 70’s. In this mythology, violence doesn’t solve anything, and non-violence has a magical ability to win conflicts—even if those victories only occur in hearts and minds.

“We win through losing,” a friend says (sarcastically) of this mindset.

Don’t get me wrong. Non-violence can be a supremely elegant and effective technique for social change. Applied correctly—forcefully—non-violence can immobilize a repressive regime or corporate power, making it impossible to move in any direction. Violence should, of course, be avoided anytime it can be.

But non-violent resistance doesn’t always work. As Adam Herriott writes in his excellent multi-part series, “The destruction of our world isn’t an ‘environmental crisis,’ nor a ‘climate crisis.’ It’s a war waged by industrial civilisaton and capitalism against life on earth–all life–and we need a resistance movement with that analysis to respond…the decision about what strategy and tactics to use depends on the circumstances, rather than being wedded to one approach out of a vague ethical dogma…the choice between using non-violence or force is a tactical decision. Those who advocate for the use of force are not arguing for blind unthinking violence, but against blind unthinking nonviolence.”

So what’s next? What happens when non-violence doesn’t work? What should you do when you have voted, petitioned, demanded, protested, raised awareness, locked down, blockaded, and it hasn’t worked?

Do you keep using the same tactics that have failed again and again, hoping they’ll work this time?

Do you give up?

This is not a theoretical question.

It’s a situation that has been faced by many resistance movements throughout history. Lately I’ve been reflecting on one in particular; the Oka Crisis that went down near Montreal in 1990.

After 400 years of gradual land theft, the Kahnesetake band of the Mohawk Nation was left with a fraction of a fraction of its traditional territory. With land “development” encroaching continuously, tensions came to a head in 1990 when plans began moving forward to expand a golf course into an extremely important site: a pine forest next to the tribal cemetery.

Members of the Kahnesetake community went through various channels to fight the expansion, including petitioning local government and the federal Indian Bureau. Nothing worked, so they began a non-violent occupation of the golf course. After a gradual escalation—police beatings, threats from masked assailants—many of the Mohawks began carrying weapons. Special police forces were called in to raid the camp, and women stood them down. Someone began shooting—from which side is impossible to say—and a policeman was killed. After a weeks-long standoff during which many more shots were exchanged, the Mohawks were eventually evicted—but the land was protected from development.

Are we committed to winning as much as those Mohawk warriors?

Species extinction, fascist and Nazi extremism, global warming, police violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, resource extraction, industrial expansion, the prison industrial system. Are we committed to stopping these injustices?

If so, we must consider all means, including the use of force and violence.

This is an emergency.

HOW A REVOLUTION MIGHT BEGIN: THE CUBAN PRECEDENT

Perhaps one of the more important lessons of revolutionary history comes from Cuba, where in 1956, a small group of revolutionaries landed near the Sierra Maestra mountains. Almost immediately, the rebels were attacked and routed. Of the original group of 80, only about 20 regrouped in the mountains.

Nonetheless, over the next several years, their movement grew. They recruited locals, coordinated with underground cells in Havana and other urban areas, and built support networks elsewhere in Latin America. By January 1959, the revolutionaries had overthrown the rule of the Batista government.

Marx informs any revolutionary, but I am not a Marxist. Like China and the Soviet Union, Cuba followed a highly centralized, industrialized development path that contains much to criticize (while still representing an inspiring alternative to the capitalist model). The events that took place after the Cuban revolution are, to me, less interesting than the methods used to carry out the revolution itself. Che’s guerilla warfare techniques were well suited to the rural countryside and have influenced every revolutionary group since. And there is much to learn from how the Cuban underground organized.

The most important lesson, I think, is that the revolutionaries just got started. They didn’t wait for the perfect conditions, which they knew would never appear. They suffered major setbacks, but they persisted, and they had unshakeable confidence that they would prevail. Despite their lack of numbers, they had a good foundational strategy. By playing to their strengths, avoiding unwise confrontations, and by gradually building strength, they defeated a force that was initially much superior and initiated a tectonic political shift from capitalist vassal state to socialist nation-building experiment.

DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE SABOTAGE

On July 24th, two women—Ruby Montoya and Jessica Reznicek—publicly admitted to sabotaging the Dakota Access Pipeline in an attempt to stop the desecration of native territory, the ongoing destruction of the climate, and threats to major rivers.

In an interview with them shortly after, they explained their motivations. Ruby, who was a kindergarten teacher before quitting her job to fight the pipeline, was in tears as she explained that those kids would have no future without action.

Jessica and Ruby have repeatedly called for others to take similar actions of eco-sabotage.

Last year, I published a call for ecological special forces:

“Small forces of ecological commandos that could target the fundamental sources of power that are destroying the planet. We have seen examples of this. In Nigeria, commando forces have been fighting a guerrilla war of sabotage against Shell Oil Corporation for decades. At times, they have reduced oil output by more than 60%.”

As we noted, “no environmental group has ever had that level of success. Not even close. In the U.S., clandestine ecological resistance has been relatively minimal. However, isolated incidents have taken place. A 2013 attack on an electrical station in central California inflicted millions of dollars in damage to difficult-to-replace components used simple hunting rifles. The action took a total of 19 minutes, displaying the sort of discipline, speed, and tactical acumen required for special forces operations.

“Our situation is desperate. Things continue to get worse. False solutions, greenwashing, corporate co-optation, and rollbacks of previous victories are relentless. Resistance communities are fractured, isolated, and disempowered. However, the centralized, industrialized, and computerized nature of global empire means that the system is vulnerable. Power is mostly concentrated and projected via a few systems that are vulnerable.

“Even powerful empires can be defeated. But those victories won’t happen if we engage on their terms. Ecological special forces provide a method and means for decisive operations that deal significant damage to the functioning of global capitalism and industrialism. With enough coordination, these sorts of attacks could deal death blows to entire industrial economies, and perhaps (with the help of aboveground movements, ecological limits, and so on) to industrialism as a whole.

“Implementation of this strategy will require highly motivated, dedicated, and skilled individuals. Serious consideration of security, anonymity, and tactics will be required. But this system was built by human beings; we can take it apart as well.”

That strategy, while not sufficient on its own, would help us move towards a more effective, forceful movement. Read that article here.

This may sound drastic to you. But consider: the planet is being destroyed. We’re living through the sixth great mass extinction event. The most powerful nation in the world just elected Donald Trump. There is no sign of a looming political shift, and alternative parties and movements are largely sidelined or co-opted.

CHARLOTTESVILLE COMES HOME

As I write this, I’m at my sister’s house; she’s just given birth to my (first) nephew, who has beautiful brown skin and is what’s called “mixed race.” Before long, he will emerge into the world, and he will be perceived as a black child, and then as he grows, a black man.

White supremacy is experiencing a resurgence. Days before I write this, at a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, hundreds of virulent racists marched, chanting “blood and soil” and “white lives matter.” In front of studiously inactive police, they severely injured more than two dozen anti-racist protestors and one fascist plowed his car into a crowd of anti-racist protestors, killing a woman and severely injuring others.

The day after, as my sister lay in bed nursing her new beautiful baby boy, more white supremacists were gathering in downtown Seattle, about two miles away. Later, the Amerikkkan president defended the supremacists, saying there were “great people” involved in the white supremacist protests.

To anyone who is paying attention, this isn’t a surprise. Our nation has been built on foundation of systematic white supremacy in service of the extraction of resources. Those are the roots of this society, and the trend continues today. The everyday violence of this culture fuels its operation. The system is functioning perfectly, exploiting every possible method for economic, social, and political gain while funneling wealth to the top.

How can I make a better world for my nephew? How can I make a survivable world? My answer—at least one part of it—is by halting that everyday violence.

It’s time that we organized and carried out a revolution.

Max Wilbert is a writer, activist, and organizer with the group Deep Green Resistance. He lives on occupied Kalapuya Territory in Oregon.

Electrical network sabotage Nottingham area (UK) in May 2016

There are two news reports that someone with an air rifle has targeted an electrical substation [1] and overhead electrical cables [2] in the Nottingham area in May 2016. Its unclear exactly how many incidents there were. It resulted in power cuts in 8,000 homes and businesses in the Nottingham area. The electrical company was able to “pinpoint a damaged component which was consistent with having been caused by a firearm,” [1]

Endnotes

  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-36383925
  2. http://legacy.newarkadvertiser.co.uk/articles/news/Power-cuts-follow-person-shooting-near-overhe

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.

Remotely support tomorrow’s Rising Up! airport action

If you can’t be at tomorrow’s Rising Up! Heathrow action, then support it remotely from home. See details below from Rising Up!:

Airport expansion makes no sense – air pollution limits are already being breached and we need to be reducing flights to meet climate change targets not increasing them. The planned expansion at Heathrow will also see local communities bulldozed – where is the democracy? Watch this video for more information.

We have three actions you can join this coming weekend (including just for an hour from your own home!).

If you are already involved thank you! and please share so we can blast our targets

1. An action with high arrest risk – between facebook and our pledge we are on target here for 100 people but more would be great! PLEASE SHARE!

2. Protests at Heathrow (family-friendly demonstration – meet at 11.30am at the Three Magpies, Bath Rd, Longford, Hounslow TW6 2AU) (on target between local folks, pledgees and facebook joiners)

3. A communications blockade of Heathrow – you join in and make some telephone calls / post on social media if you can (again we are on target between pledgees and those joining by facebook). More information will come through this week to those signed up in the meantime you can pick your time slot

These actions are super important in terms of the movement to stop insane airport expansion. They are also our live experiment in creating inclusive actions for everyone to join in, which also include acts of civil disobedience, which have historically always been necessary as the way to see change.

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

Categories of violence against women

The War Against Women and Girls in the UK

Adam Herriott / Deep Green Resistance UK

Preface

Many men have asked me why Deep Green Resistance is a radical feminist organisation. “Doesn’t it distract you from your main goal?” they ask, as though the fight against ecocide is unconnected to the fight against patriarchy and its cult of toxic masculinity, which dominates most women in the same way it dominates the natural world. “There are so many other problems to focus on! And anyway, I heard that one in three victims of domestic violence in the UK is male, so shouldn’t we also be talking about men as victims of female violence? Isn’t focusing on men as perpetrators in itself sexist…?”

The frustration I felt from questions such as these prompted me to write this post. I wanted to compile a catalogue of male violence against women and to debunk some of the most common myths used to derail discussions around male violence against women and girls. My post is aimed primarily at all those who question the need for radical feminism within DGR, wonder why we as men would wish to identify as pro-feminist, become defensive and argue that they have never been violent against women and so are not part of the problem, refuse to listen when women speak of their experiences, argue that men are just as much victims as women, believe a gender-neutral approach is a suitable solution to dealing with violence against women…

The following gives some indication of the scale of what we mean when we talk about the war on women. There are simply no comparable statistics for female violence against men. My focus is the United Kingdom, and while there are regional variations in how women are treated in society, there is not a single country in which women are able to live free from the control of patriarchy, for it truly is a global system.

Categories of Violence Against Women and Girls

Violence against women and girls (VAWG) can be broken down into the following categories: femicide; domestic violence; stalking and harassment; rape and sexual assault; forced marriage, honour based violence and female genital mutilation; child abuse; human trafficking, with a focus on trafficking for sexual exploitation; prostitution and commercial sexual exploitation; and pornography.

Under international human rights law, the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) defines VAWG as “violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately,” thereby underlining that violence against women is not something occurring to women randomly, but rather an issue affecting them because of their sex.

Femicide

The killing of females by males because they are female.

Current or former male partners killed seven women per month in England and Wales[1]. Men are known or suspected of killing 126 women in 2015; this is one woman dead every 2.9 days. Men are known or suspected of killing 150 women in 2014; this is one woman dead every 2.43 days. Men are known or suspected of killing 140 women in 2013; this is one woman killed every 2.53 days. That’s more women killed through male violence in 2013 than British troops killed in Afghanistan in 3 years of war.

Do women commit murders? Of course. Official figures for the UK show that, between 2002 and 2012, 6.1% of adults who were convicted of murder were women. Which leaves 93.9% of those convicted of murder as men.

And what about male victims? We know that about two-thirds of murder victims are male. But we also know that both female and male murder victims are most likely to have been killed by men. In both cases, the problem is male violence.

Domestic violence

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to: psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse.

An analysis of 10 separate domestic violence prevalence studies found consistent findings: 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence over their lifetimes and between 6-10% of women suffer domestic violence in a given year.

Prevalence and administrative data based on single incidents fail to capture the pattern of violence women experience. This has resulted in the numbers of female and male victims increasingly seen as equal by policy makers, local social workers, the police, and other professionals who come into contact with victims. So a woman who is battered many times is likely to be seen as the same as a man who is a victim of violence from a female partner once. The figures of 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men experiencing domestic violence fail to identify patterns of abuse over time and the coercive control which typifies intimate partner violence. Using these statistics to establish a picture of the prevalence of intimate partner violence is therefore not recommended.

Notable statistics:

  • One in five people think it would be acceptable in certain circumstances for a man to hit or slap his female partner in response to her being dressed in sexy or revealing clothing in public.
  • 43% of teenage girls believe that it is acceptable for a boyfriend to be aggressive towards his partner.
  • 1 in 2 boys and 1 in 3 girls believe that there are some circumstances when it is okay to hit a woman or force her to have sex.
  • Domestic violence has a higher rate of repeat victimisation than any other crime. Every minute police in the UK receive a domestic violence call – yet only 35% of domestic violence incidents are reported to the police. On average, a woman is assaulted 35 times before her first call to the police.
  • The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) have found a statistical link between the economic downturn and an increase in domestic violence. Domestic violence has increased by 17% over the period of the recession.
  • 33% of girls in an intimate relationship aged 13-17 have experienced some form of sexual violence from a partner.

What about men suffering from domestic abuse by women? The Government’s Office for National Statistics says “Women were also more likely to be a victim of domestic abuse, with 8.5% of women and 4.5% of men having experienced domestic abuse in the last year, equivalent to an estimated 1.4 million female victims and 700,000 male victims.”

Men may be living with women who hit, punch, slap, and bully them, but they are very unlikely to be living with women who rape and murder them. Not to ignore that women abuse men, but one cannot always draw clear parallels between the violence that men and women endure. We know from reliable data that women in abusive relationships are more likely to experience serious physical harm than men in abusive relationships – and domestic abuse against women is more often repeated, frequently begins in pregnancy, and is a significant cause of maternal death.

Stalking and harassment

Repeated (i.e. on at least two occasions) harassment causing fear, alarm or distress. It can include threatening phone calls, texts or letters; damaging property; spying on and following the victim.

20% of women say they have experienced stalking at some point since the age of 16.

Rape and sexual assault

Rape: A person commits rape if they intentionally penetrate the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with their penis without consent.
Sexual assault: A person commits sexual assault if they intentionally touch another person, the touching is sexual and the person does not consent.

  • According to a 2013 joint official statistics bulletin on sexual violence, approximately 85,000 women and 9,000 men are raped in England and Wales every year.
  • A 2009 Home Office survey found that 36% of people believe that a woman should be held wholly or partly responsible for being sexually assaulted or raped if she was drunk, and 26% if she was in public wearing sexy or revealing clothes.
  • An Amnesty International survey found that over 1 in 4 respondents thought a woman was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she was wearing sexy or revealing clothing, and more than 1 in 5 held the same view if a woman had had many sexual partners.
  • It is estimated that only 10% of rapes are reported to the police.
  • Only 22% of serious sexual violence offences are brought to justice. The rape conviction rate in England and Wales is 6.5%. This is the second lowest conviction rate in Europe after Scotland. The police remain unaware of 87% of serious sexual assault victims. London Ambulance Service is called to approximately 450 rape/sexual assault incidents per year.
  • Over 400,000 women are sexually assaulted each year.
  • Marital rape was only criminalised in the UK in 1991!
  • Almost one in three girls have experienced unwanted sexual touching at school.
  • A significant minority of young women aged 17 to 21 (13%) say that a boy/girlfriend has made them feel frightened or threatened, with one in ten staying in a relationship in which their partner has made them feel unsafe (11%).

What about the common myth that many women make false claims of rape against men? The Crown Prosecution Service revealed that during a 17 month test period in 2011-12, there were 5,651 prosecutions for rape and 111,891 for domestic violence in England and Wales. Over the same time period, there were only 35 prosecutions for making false allegations of rape, six for false allegations of domestic violence and three that involved false allegations of both rape and domestic violence. That’s about 161 rapes for every false claim of rape, and 18,648 incidences of domestic violence for every false claim.

Forced marriage

Marriage conducted without valid consent of one or both parties, where duress is a factor.

  • The Forced Marriage Unit recorded 1,485 cases of forced marriage across the UK in 2012. Of these cases, 21% were identified in London. In 2012/13 there were 50 forced marriages offences reported to the London Met Police.
  • In 2015 the Forced Marriage Unit gave advice or support in 1220 cases of possible forced marriage, with 80% of the cases involving female victims.
  • A study done in 2009 highlighted that there were between 5,000 to 8,000 forced marriages reported in England. It is also acknowledged that the actual numbers may be higher due to the ‘hidden’ aspect of this issue.

Honour Based Violence

Violence committed to protect or defend the ‘honour’ of a family and/or community. Women, especially young women, are the most common targets, often where they have acted outside community boundaries of perceived acceptable feminine/sexual behaviour. In extreme cases the woman may be killed.

  • The police estimate that nationally, there are around 12 so-called ‘honour’ murders each year. The Metropolitan Police recorded 256 incidents linked to ‘honour’ in the year 2008/09, of which 132 were criminal offences. This is a 60% rise for the year to April 2009.
  • 29 cases were reported in the media to have taken place within the UK from 2010-2014, with 11 attempted killings and 18 actual killings.
  • In 2012/13 there were 180 ‘honour’-based violence offences reported to the London Met Police.

Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C)

The complete or partial removal or alteration of external genitalia.

FGM is thought to ensure virginity before marriage and fidelity afterward, and to increase male sexual pleasure. It is mostly carried out on young girls at some time between infancy and the age of 15. Unlike male circumcision, which is legal in many countries, it is now illegal across much of the globe, and its extensive harmful health consequences are widely recognised.

  • At least 66,000 women and girls in England and Wales have undergone FGM, in the main prior to arrival in the UK, with a further 33,000 girls and young women at high risk.
  • There have been no convictions for FGM since it was outlawed in 1985, compared to 100 in France. The London Met Police investigated 46 allegations of FGM in 2008/09 and 58 in 2009/10.

Human trafficking for sexual exploitation

The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

  • Human trafficking is the second largest criminal enterprise in the world, earning exploiters more than $150 billion each year, according to a report released by the International Labor Organization in May 2014.
  • 600,000-800,000 men, women and children are trafficked across international borders each year. Approximately 80% are women and girls for sexual exploitation or domestic servitude. Up to 50% are minors. Men are trafficked to work on farms or in factories for no or little pay.
  • Between 1,000 and 10,000 women and girls are trafficked into the UK each year for sexual exploitation[2]. Many are trafficked to or through London. Around 6,000 of the estimated 8,000 women involved in off-street prostitution in London’s brothels, “saunas” and “massage parlours” are foreign nationals. It is believed that a significant number of them have been trafficked[3].
  • It is estimated that of 17,000 migrant women involved in off-street prostitution in England and Wales, 2,600 have been trafficked and 9,200 are vulnerable migrants who may be further victims of trafficking.
  • For 2012/13, there were 447 trafficking for sexual exploitation offences reported, up from 32 offences in 2007/8. In 2012, 1,186 potential victims of trafficking were referred to the National Referral Mechanism of whom 786 were female. Project Acumen identified 2,600 female victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation in England and Wales and 9,600 who are considered to be vulnerable.
  • A person does not have to cross a border to have been trafficked. There are known cases of women and men trafficked within the UK.

Prostitution and Commercial Sexual Exploitation

Prostitution: The practice or occupation of engaging in sexual activity with someone for payment.
Commercial Sexual Exploitation: Achieving sexual gratification, financial gain or advancement through the abuse or exploitation of a person’s sexuality by abrogating that person’s human right to dignity, equality, autonomy, and physical and mental well-being; i.e. prostitution (on streets, in house, flats, brothels; escort agencies; massage parlours/saunas,) pornography and adult entertainment (stripping, pole dancing, lap dancing), phone sex lines, internet sex chat rooms, mail order brides, sex tourism.

  • 80,000 women work in “on-street” prostitution in the UK, with a female to male ratio of four to one.
  • Up to 5,000 children may be involved in prostitution at any one time. According to evidence submitted to the UK Government, between 50-75% of women entered prostitution before they were 18, with 15 years being the average age of entry. Up to 75% of women involved in prostitution began when they were under 18 years of age and most teenage prostitutes are involved in street prostitution, which is estimated to be ten times more dangerous than working from houses or flats.
  • 70% of those involved in street prostitution have a history of social services care. As many as 85% of women in prostitution report physical abuse in the family, with 45% reporting familial sexual abuse.
  • Women in street prostitution have a mortality rate 12 times the national average, and are 18 times more likely to be murdered than the general population. People are much less likely to be convicted of murdering a prostitute than of any other murder. The conviction rate of 75% for murder drops to 26% when it comes to killings of women in prostitution. More than half of women in prostitution have been raped and or seriously assaulted and at least 75% have been physically assaulted at the hands of the pimps and Johns.

Pornography

Printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement.

There are abundant studies on the effects of pornography on those who view it. Researchers of a Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) for the Children’s Commissioner concluded that “Pornography has been linked to unrealistic attitudes about sex, beliefs that women are sex objects, more frequent thoughts about sex, and children and young people who view pornography tend to hold less progressive gender role attitudes.”

Another REA, by the Ministry of Justice in 2007, found:

“The REA supports the existence of some harmful effects from extreme pornography on some who access it. These included increased risk of developing pro-rape attitudes, beliefs and behaviours, and committing sexual offences. Although this was also true of some pornography which did not meet the extreme pornography threshold, it showed that the effects of extreme pornography were more serious.
Men who are predisposed to aggression, or have a history of sexual and other aggression were more susceptible to the influence of extreme pornographic material. This was corroborated by a number of different studies using different methods and different samples.

The REA found no formal research studies of the effects on those who participate in making extreme pornography.”

Pornography is addictive like alcohol and drugs.

Conclusion

After reading all of the above, anyone still thinking that this culture is not at war with women and young people needs to think again, to put it mildly.

I share the anger, shame and need for men to do something about this appalling state of affairs that Kourtney Mitchell describes in “Escalate the Fight to End Male Violence“. An important way to start is by practicing the Feminist Solidarity Guidelines, developed by men in DGR with guidance from the Women’s Caucus. These guidelines help males change their behavior and better ally themselves with women.

Endnotes

1. ONS (2015), Crime Survey England and Wales 2013-14. London: Office for National Statistics
2. http://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/data/files/resources/38/realising_rights-jul-08.pdf (page 16)
3. http://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/The%20Way%20Forward%20Final%20Strategy.pdf (page 17)

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.