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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

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

Brexit, a Momentous Non-Event

By Arthur Sevestre / Deep Green Resistance supporter

Walk the line

“If they give you lined paper, write sideways.” ~Daniel Quinn

The UK is to leave the EU. The world will never be the same. Many feel that this will make many matters much worse in the UK. I agree. But I also think that matters would have been getting much worse in the UK if they would have stayed.

There were only two choices in the referendum: leave the EU, or remain. These options may seem quite fundamentally different, unless you take a few steps back and look at it from a bit of a distance.

Almost all the arguments for and against were framed around the economy. The leave campaigners said that leaving would be best for the British economy, and for trade and jobs. The remain side claimed it would be better to stay for the very same reasons.

When people are given a real piece of lined paper, literally or figuratively, then most will write neatly on the lines without much thought. This is what happened in the case of Brexit. If the paper was the full range of possibilities for people to react to the referendum, then the lines were a way to control and limit peoples’ minds and actions without them noticing. The lines drawn for the referendum suggested that only voting for or against Brexit was possible. Nothing else. Leave or remain, but no qualifications possible, let alone distinctly different options.

Sliding premises by people

“The first rule of propaganda: if you can slide your premises by people, you’ve got them.” ~Derrick Jensen

To say the above in a different way, the lines on the paper are what you might call premises. Author Derrick Jensen argues that if you want to make people accept opinions as fact, there is almost no better way than by using language to slide these things by people unnoticed.

When both leave and remain campaigners framed their position as being best for the economy, they slipped through the premise that a strong economy is desirable or even essential to live well. Citizens accepted the premise as a matter of fact, not a proposal needing consideration.

How could one even write sideways on this lined paper that was handed out? Not by ticking one of those boxes. Both boxes offered by the political and economical establishment were about growing the economy, increasing trade, and creating more jobs. This meant that every vote in this referendum effectively was a vote for growing the economy, increasing trade, creating more jobs In other words, every vote in this referendum was a vote for growing the economy, for increasing trade, for more jobs, for… hold on.. when was the last time a growing economy was about making things better for ordinary people? When did they get more money to spend, and better jobs which paid better? And what about the rest of the living world?

Hasn’t recent economic growth been the result of squeezing the last bits of money out of the poor classes to further fill the bank accounts of the rich? On a EU-wide scale, hasn’t it come from squeezing the last bits of money out of the likes of Greece, Ireland and Portugal, only to make the bankers in the richest countries richer? Hasn’t the EU as a whole squeezed empty other parts of the world, such as Africa? Despite its claims to virtue, the EU is not about fairness and making things better for all.

More importantly, a growing economy is at its very basis a measure for how efficiently the rich few manage to force the middle class and poor masses to work away health and life (jobs) to convert ever more of the living planet ever faster into dead products for the profit of the few (economic growth), and into toxic waste and a dead planet.

These are some of the very most fundamental lines on the paper provided to voters in this referendum. The leave and remain campaigns weren’t the first to draw them. These lines have been around for an awfully long time, which makes them seem even more set in stone. We’ve gotten so used to them that while they constrain nearly all our political discourse, they are more or less invisible. We notice them perfectly, or we couldn’t write neatly on them, but we are unconscious of our acceptance. What a trick.

Tick outside the box

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” ~Noam Chomsky

The referendum allowed voters to influence some issues. For example, travel within the EU may now be severely impaired for UK citizens. But the real matters – those determining whether we have an inhabitable planet for the foreseeable future, and thus whether we have anything to travel to – were not on the table. Their absence doesn’t mean the vote had nothing to do with them. Instead it means that every vote, leave or remain, was a vote against a planet still being able to support life.

Some suggest EU environmental regulations force the UK to greener standards. Others argue that an independent UK might set stricter regulations than one limited by EU rules. Voting with this in mind might be called a form of writing sideways on the lined paper they gave you. You were supposed to vote for a stronger economy, but you used your vote to try to say something you weren’t supposed to be able to say. You were trying to, if not bring about actual change, at least change circumstances so that real change can be more easily achieved.

So maybe, just maybe, it can be argued that writing sideways was possible. But the time and energy spent trying to do so could have been spent more effectively on other routes to change. The problem is that the rulers of neither the UK nor EU show any sign of putting the living planet first. Even if voters care strongly, the elite divert, convert, and pervert that into care and support for slightly different corporate industries, such as those which profit from “green technology.”

Industries such as Renewable Energy™ attempt, quite successfully, to slide premises past us. They call technologies “renewable” even though they depend on mined minerals and fossil fuel for their production. They limit us to lively debate about whether we will power our gadgets, tools and machines on fossil fuels or on these “renewables,” never allowing the question of whether we should use these tools at all. It doesn’t matter whether the chainsaws cutting trees run on petrochemicals or on water. It doesn’t matter whether the fighter bombers dropping depleted uranium on poor brown people living on top of “our” resources fly on kerosene or on biofuels. It doesn’t matter whether the mining equipment ripping holes into the earth runs on diesel or on hydrogen fuel cells. If you use technology to kill the planet, the planet will be killed. We need to be having that discussion.

Thinking outside the box so far that you realise that there is no box

“Understand: the task of an activist is not to negotiate systems of power with as much personal integrity as possible–it’s to dismantle those systems.” ~Lierre Keith

If we want meaningful change, it’s useless to accept the paper we’re handed and spend our energy trying to write on the lines with integrity. Even writing sideways won’t achieve much; not only the lines, but the very pieces of paper on which they’re drawn, constrain our thoughts and actions. To obliterate the limits they impose, we must throw away the paper altogether.

Consider the game of Monopoly. A player playing to win has no choice but to amass as much money as possible at the expense of the other players, with an inevitable outcome of one player ending up extremely rich and, because of that, the rest reduced to beggars. (A player indifferent to winning will simply become a beggar more quickly.) If the players feel the game isn’t going well, they might vote to replace the current banker. But the new banker is constrained by the design of the game such that nothing significant will change. The players cannot change the outcome unless they completely change the nature of the game. Effectively, they must replace the game with something else. We should keep this in mind as we evaluate the dominant culture.

We have more than just a vote. We are not limited to marking an X on a piece of paper to decide who rules us while we continue playing the same game. We can use our voices without the constraints of the lines or the papers. We can use our hands, arms, legs, feet, knees, elbows and hard heads to wipe the monopoly game off the table and replace it with a game which benefits all. Such a momentous change would expose Brexit as the non-event it is.

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.

The ecosabotage we don’t hear about

We’ve listed the underground actions in the UK that are in the public domain, but what about those we don’t hear about? There’s a rich and continuous stream of resistance that never sees the light of day, never seeks the media feeds or the spotlight. A conversation with a friend recently highlighted this ongoing resistance; whilst transiting through a train station near London he overheard an interesting conversation between four rail engineers discussing ongoing targeting and sabotage of strategic signals in the area.

He followed them discreetly to hear more. It seemed that for a prolonged period of six months or more, specific signals along a freight route had been targeted and sabotaged. Trains on this route transport key resources such as minerals and coal. The nuclear waste train also uses this route.

The engineers said it was happening with such foresight, and so very well timed to disrupt the route on a regular basis, that it must be done by someone with inside or working knowledge. We can’t know or speak for these people but we in Deep Green Resistance support their work.

With foresight, planning, and research, it is possible to conduct effective actions without disrupting or harming the public. These actions have caused so little trouble to the public that no one is aware of them, and they’ve gone unreported. The establishment don’t want to report these (unless for disinformation or to discredit groups) so as not to encourage or alarm the general public to the fact that resistance is organised and ongoing. Please share this story as one example of the untold resistance.

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. . .

Reclaim the Power – fossil fuel electricity generation in the UK

The 2015 Reclaim the Power camp will be from 29 May – 2nd June near Didcot powerstation in Oxfordshire. Didcot Power Station comprises Didcot A Power Station, powered by oil and coal until its closure in 2013, and Didcot B Power Station, a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT).

Didcot power station stands as a half-demolished monument to the unfinished job of kicking out dirty fossil fuels from the UK’s energy mix. Although the coal-fired section (Didcot A) was shut down and part-demolished last year because of EU laws limiting emissions, the gas-fired section (Didcot B) is still running today. What sustainable alternatives exist for local communities living at Didcot – and how can we create a just transition away from fossil fuels?

While communities around the country have stood together against fracking, our government has been making plans to build a new round of gas-fired power stations, and wants to partly supply them with fracked shale gas. Despite the fact that we need to keep global gas reserves in the ground if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change, corporate lobbyists are now pushing hard to scrap the EU legislation designed to reduce emissions across Europe. More fossil fuels will enrich the Big Six energy companies whilst bringing more fuel poverty and climate chaos.

In 2014 about 29% of UK electricity demands were met by coal, 19% by nuclear, 30% by CCGT, and 19% by renewables. The rest came from oil, pumped storage and from other European countries via their interconnectors. Of course included in ‘renewables’ are highly unsustainable practices such as burning biomass and mixed waste. (See the DGR ‘green’ technology and renewable energy FAQs for problems with these methods.)

One third of the UK’s coal power stations will close by the end of 2015, leaving ten still in operation. There are thirty three CCGT power stations in the UK with many more on the way, which will create a demand for fracked gas. This interactive map, though a bit out of date, shows the location of UK electricity power stations.

All of the UK’s coal power stations are due to close by the early 2020’s to comply with air pollution regulations (the Large Combustion Plants Directive (LCPD) and Industrial Emissions Directive (IED)). But based on a report from Imperial College London, many of these coal power stations will still be operational in 2030. What a surprise. It doesn’t look like Europe is doing much better, although of course, the UK is contributing to this predicted failure.

At last year’s Reclaim the Power camp thirteen decentralised groups carried out actions around the country. Deep Green Resistance UK members will be at the camp this year, to support it and take part in a non-violent direct action. Visit the Reclaim the Power Facebook event page for more details. We hope to see you there!

Deep Green Resistance UK Autumn 2014 Newsletter

Dear friends,

Deep Green Resistance UK would like to invite you to a free day of talks and workshops on Sat 22 November in Willesden, NW London. This will give people the chance to hear more about and discuss our radical analysis, to learn about our strategy and to talk about the kind of tactics we think are necessary to save life on earth. For more information see the event flyer or the facebook event page. Please share with your networks.

DGR is requesting support for a documentary promoting strategic, effective resistance. Please visit the fundraiser page for ‘On the Side of the Living’ to learn more and help fund or promote the project.

DGR UK members have had a busy summer.

Adam and Dee ran a stall and a workshop at the Green Gathering at the end July. Read Dee’s report-back. The Artist Taxi Driver interviewed Adam at the stall. Watch the video and visit the Deep Green Resistance youtube channel for many more videos.

In August, DGR members helped with organising the Reclaim the Power gathering that resulted in thirteen actions against the fracking industry. Adam was part of the Earth First Summer Gathering collective and, with DGR supporter Helen Moore, ran a workshop on building a culture of resistance. We will be running this workshop again at the DGR London event on November 22nd.

Adam presented on the DGR analysis/strategy at the Green Party Conference at the start of September as part of a Resisting Together event. Ben and Adam ran a DGR UK stall at the London Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday 18th October.

A number of us will be meeting for a Resisting Together camping gathering near Frome on October 31st to November 2nd.

Love and rage,
DGR UK team

The Green Gathering 2014

From the 31st July to the 3rd August 2014, DGR UK had a stall at this year’s Green Gathering in Chepstowe.

As someone new to these kinds of festivals, it’s been an interesting experience for me. I arrived on Wednesday to meet our little group of people, and help with setup. The sun was shining, we chatted, put up tents and gazebos, pondered our stalls and watched the rest of the gathering being built. More traders, and public, arrived on Thursday, and bit by bit the fields were taken over by all manner of structures, tents and vehicles. We even got a quick talk about how a large marquee is set up.

But for all the material things appearing, a gathering is as much held together by the people and the causes they represent. And there were many; a physical manifestation of all that needs fixing in the world, but also of all the goodwill that is there to fix it. And there was a lot. Not only places and workshops to inform yourself and increase your skills, but also many spontaneous encounters with worthwhile, interesting and kind people, and unfortunately much too little time to explore it all.

For DGR UK this has meant a successful workshop, many people talked with at our stall, and many connections made and explored. After the gathering a website for the ‘Resisting Together’ group was launched, to supplement the existing Facebook group and provide information for people who aren’t on Facebook.

For myself, I have learned a lot about how such a gathering functions, about how to talk to people, and about a lot of the many problems civilisation causes, and the many projects that need help. I’ve also been reminded just how different life can be from the ‘normal’ civilised world most people live in. Even though it was just a very small patch of the world and just a short amount of time, and we still relied on so much of civilisation to make it happen, it’s far enough removed, and different enough, that going back home, sitting on the train, locking my door behind me at home, feels like a culture shock.

Lessons From the Luddites: Strategically Smash the Machine

luddites-resist
“if we don’t break’em, our lives they will take’em.
Our croft, our cottage, our village as wello.
No freedom or laughter for those who come after,
But a servant and master in a factory hell.”

Seize the Day: General Ludd

Essay by Ben Ludd

Resistance is fertile. It strengthens. It works. It never dies. We are taught to accept progress as if it were inevitable and always desirable. The relentless growth of cities is neither: a quick look at history shows why.

While the dominant culture uses the word “Luddite” negatively to describe people who are against progress, I use it as a compliment to describe those who fight back using the tactics they deem most effective. We are told that Luddite means “One who is opposed to technical change.” However, the Luddites were not opposed to all forms of progress. They did not destroy labour saving devices indiscriminately. On the contrary, they chose their targets carefully, smashing only those machines harmful to the common good, while leaving others in the same workshops untouched. Today we face larger machines harmful not only to the common good of humanity and the natural world, but to the very possibility of future life on earth.

Two hundred years ago the Luddites saw the threat to their livelihoods and lives more clearly than most. Skilled workers being replaced by steam-powered machines, they were early casualties of capitalism’s shift of rewards from workers to the owners of capital. The merchants who owned the new mills broke the law by employing non-apprenticed unskilled workers in their factories. For ten years the weavers responded with non-violent tactics, appealing to the government to enforce the law. They were ignored and, under pressure from the merchants, the Government changed the law.

With no further legal recourse available to them, the weavers, guided by their mythical leader General Ludd, warned factory owners to remove their machinery. When these final warnings were ignored, the ‘machine breaking’ began. The Luddites used sledgehammers made by Enoch, the same legendary blacksmith who had helped to create the machines they wished to destroy. A Luddite slogan was “Enoch made them, Enoch shall break them.” Thus the Luddites proved you can use the master’s tools to destroy the master’s house.

Despite the Luddites’ actions already being illegal, the government introduced new laws making it a capital offence to destroy the particular machinery which had been targeted. Even with machine breaking now being punishable by death, attacks on cotton mills continued throughout 1812. Many Luddites were captured and executed or sent to Australia. They died protecting their livelihoods and the work their communities relied upon. The Luddites were ordinary people acting with the support of ordinary people. Those who were captured were caught in the act of sabotage; there were no informants. The law enforcers struggled to find anyone who would even admit to knowing a Luddite. With the identity of their leader shrouded in myth, even when some were caught and hung, others were able to continue the resistance. Valuable lessons about the importance of maintaining good security culture and strong relationships with your local community can be found in this example.

Unfortunately, their actions did not stop the industrial revolution. In the years that followed, carbon parts per million rose from 285 to 400, and continue to rise exponentially towards irreversible climate change. However, some people, perhaps inspired by the Luddites, are fighting back. A growing list of examples of modern-day actions similar to those carried out by the Luddites includes:

  • The March 2013 group sabotage of critical equipment, machinery and vehicles belonging to Scottish Coal at Powharnal open cast coal mine in East Ayrshire, Scotland.
  • The November 2008 incident at Kingsnorth coal power station in Kent, when someone climbed two three-metre (10ft) razor-wired, electrified security fences, walked into the station and crashed a giant 500MW turbine before leaving a calling card reading “no new coal”. This person walked out the same way and hopped back over the fence.

These actions alone did not significantly slow climate change, but they show the vulnerability of industrial infrastructure and serve as blueprints for the types of actions that will stop the destruction of our home. Civilisation is a fragile monster. All that is required to stop it devouring our planet are a few motivated people capable of identifying its weaknesses.

Are you ready to act? The Luddites never lost. Their battle is and always was ours too.