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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

Deep Green Resistance UK on the Brexit

Julian Langer / Deep Green Resistance UK

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deep Green Resistance UK 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. . .

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.

DGR UK Summer 2014 Newsletter

Its been a while since the last DGR UK newsletter in Autumn 2013.

In Decmber DGR member from across Europe met in London and formed the DGR EUMENA (EU, Middle East, North Africa) regional group.

In January, we posted an Open Letter to the UK Environmental Movement from Deep Green Resistance UK on our blog. Please share with your networks.

The Land Magazine published a piece about DGR UK in its January edition. The Ecologist Online republished this in April: Deep Green Resistance in the UK

DGR UK members and Keith Farnish organised a Resisting Together event in Edinburgh on March 29th. A Resisting Together facebook discussion group has just been set up.

Adam ran a workshop at the Power Shift UK conference at 3pm on May 3rd in London. The workshop was titled ‘Diversity of Tactics’ and looked at the need for the environmental movement to start being more strategic.

DGR UK members met up for a camping weekend in Nottinghamshire from June 13-15th. A broader anti civ wild camping week is planned for the end of September in Skye, Scotland.

Adam gave a DGR talk with Q+A on June 21st as part of Bristol Big Green Week.

There will be a DGR UK stall at the Green Gathering in Chepstow from July 31st to August 3rd. Adam will run the Diversity of Tactic workshop on Friday at the Green Gathering in the Off Grid College.

Finally, DGR UK now has a new email address – uk@deepgreenresistance.org

In solidarity,
The DGR UK team

DGR UK Autumn 2013 Newsletter

DGR UK members had a busy August. We ran a DGR UK stall at the Green Gathering and ran a workshop on Derrick Jensen’s Endgame Premises. Adam was involved in organising the Earth First! Summer Gathering and ran a session on DGR during the gathering. This was a very useful and rewarding discussion. Lucy was part of the group that set up Reclaim the Power camp on farmland near the Balcombe Community Protection Camp that ran from August 16th-21st. Lucy also took part in the action at Cuadrilla’s headquarters in Liltchfield, north of Birmingham. Adam also attended the Dark Mountain Project’s last Uncivilisation festival and ran a DGR session there.

Lucy joined with other anti-nuclear campaigners in an over night “swoop” to help establish the Action AWE camp at the UK’s Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Burghfield just south of Reading, in Berkshire. This ran for two weeks from 26 August. This is part of a three year campaign in resistance to the 100 billion the government is spending by 2016 on renewing Trident – Britain’s nuclear missile system. The big day of action was on 2nd September. People from all over Europe attended and there were over 20 arrests.

DGR UK members were recently at the Balcombe Community Protection Camp.

DGR UK will be running a stall at the London Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday 19th October and at the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday 23rd November. So if you can make it down to one of those then please come and say hello.

DGR UK members in Bristol are running an Anti Civilisation Reading Group (http://bristol.indymedia.org.uk/article/766886) and Anti Civilisation Film Series (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bristol-Anti-Civilisation-Film-Series/656376291048501).

A recent blog post on shows that underground work has been taking place in the UK for years.

There are two new pages on the DGR UK website. DGR UK has been asked a number of similar question by interested parties and other activists so we have decided to respond to these with a DGR UK FAQs page.
There is now also a Resources page which lists recommended reading and viewing related to DGR.
The Security page on the DGR UK website has been updated.

Please get in touch if you have any comments or questions.

In friendship and solidarity,

The DGR UK Team

Responses to Oppression: Legal Remedies

This is the first follow on blog post from the previous Oppression post that looks at legal remedies as a response to oppression.

Most activists groups are centred around legal remedies to address specific harm. This is for a very good reason. As Catharine MacKinnon points out, “Law organises power.” To be clear, when we talk about legal tactics, we’re not referring to tactics that simply obey the law, rather we’re talking about tactics that intend to use the law as a means towards achieving a goal. Legal tactics can look like anything from passing new legislation, bringing lawsuits against corrupt industry, voting, or lobbying those in power. Historically, they have run the gamut from being extremely effective to necessarily restricting and piecemeal. Most in the contemporary environmental movement have sanctioned legal tactics as the only legitimate way to engage in activism, many radicals have written off legal means altogether. Well, it’s important to note that legal tactics aren’t just for liberals.

Through the course of history, there have been legislative victories and court rulings that have substantially changed people’s lives and redirected the flow of power. If we’re going to try to reorganise power, we are going to have to grapple with the law in one way or another. The trick is to learn how to utilise the law as radicals, or in such a way that employs the law as a tool for creating material change. So let’s take a look at some of the legal tactics that have been used in the contemporary environmental movement.

The law has commonly been used to regulate, or to check unjust activities on the part of individuals or corporate entities. The most common subject of regulation is egregious industrial waste, in the form of toxic chemicals released into the air and water, as well as solid waste disposed on land. In the UK we have the Clean Air Act 1993, Water Resources Act 1991, and the various pesticide and herbicide regulations which all set standards for “acceptable” amounts of toxins released into the environment. This legislation has been considered radical by some, and have indeed been extremely effective in at least reducing the amount of toxins released, especially in comparison to the state of things before these acts were in existence. However, these kinds of regulatory acts are only effective insofar as those who are in charge of doing the regulating actually do their job. This doesn’t exactly work when those who are in charge of regulation are most always the same entities who profit from the very destruction that should be regulated—the government or the corporations themselves! The result of this is a plethora of loopholes made to accommodate profitable industry that doesn’t quite attend to the toxic limits.

The latest figures indicate that 29,000 people die prematurely from air pollution every year in Britain, twice as many as from road traffic, obesity and alcohol combined, and that air pollution is now second only to smoking as a cause of death. I don’t think anyone reading this would truly argue that this is “acceptable.”

So while most liberal activists are left wondering how to tighten regulation around industrial pollution, logging and sexual violence, as radicals, our job is to be asking the deeper questions. When did it become acceptable to drink and breathe in any level of synthetic poisons? How is clear cutting any percentage of living, breathing ecosystems justifiable? As radicals, we should recognise that no level of destruction and oppression is acceptable and we should be working to stop it, not merely lessen its blows.

Aside from creating new legislation, legal tactics are often concerned with putting pressure on people in power through methods such as lobbying, petitioning, calling or writing. One big problem with this is that, as many of us know, you can’t convince insane people.

To get more to the point though, you can’t convince people to stop destroying the natural world if they are directly responsible for upholding a system which necessitates that destruction. The current political structure is predicated on the material condition of infinite growth, meaning a necessity for continued resource consumption and imperialistic expansion. So we’re never going to simply convince them to stop burning fossil fuels or tearing apart forests because they simply cannot undermine the economic and political system they are responsible for running. It goes against their job description.

The Coalition Government looks to have little interest in meeting the legal obligations necessary to ensure the Climate Act (2008) targets are met. Read more here and here. In July the UK Government announced large tax incentives for fracking companies and it just so happens that senior energy sector bosses sit at the heart of Government.

In the same vein, voting new people into the same corrupt positions of power is not really going to get us anywhere. Hopefully we all know that the current environmental crisis won’t be solved by electing a new Prime Minister. Last year leaked documents indicated that the Coalition Government was trying to water down new EU targets on renewable energy and energy efficiency. So rather than expending so much energy trying to convince those in power to change or vying to put someone new in their place, radical legal tactics are concerned with giving people more control over their own lives, or redistributing power back to the people.

Whether it be giving marginalised classes more political leverage, The Representation of the People Act 1928 gave all women over 30 the vote or giving individuals more control over their own bodies and lives, the Slave Abolition Act in 1833, radical legislation seeks to empower oppressed classes, individuals and communities.

Of course, there are many circumstances where those in power have the control over legislation and we do have to convince them to wield that power in less destructive ways. It’s important to say though, that this pressure doesn’t always have to come in the form of supplicant pleading.

For instance, the suffragettes had to convince those in power to give them the vote. For generations they tried asking nicely, and when that didn’t work, they turned to tactics such as civil disobedience, hunger strikes and finally arson before finally winning the vote.

The moral of the story is, if you have no political leverage, then your best bet at winning is to engage in disruption, or moving the terrain of conflict outside of electoral politics or bureaucratic process. We will get more into these kinds of disruptive tactics in a later post, but for now we can simply note that legislative battles don’t always have to be won through legal means.

The final way that we can measure the effectiveness of legal tactics is by looking at the grander picture and considering whether the tactic supports a larger campaign or resistance movement. So this would be one of the circumstances in which our categories of tactics overlap in crucial ways. If a legal tactic can’t be a decisive action on its own, it can aim to support other tactics or the larger resistance movement.

The work that Green and Black Cross does is a great example of this kind of support. They provide legal observers on the ground, a 24/7 arrestee support line and follow-up advice for defendants and claimants. We need people who know how to navigate the legal system because whether we like it or not, the legal system is what many of us end up wrapped up in when we necessarily break the law to achieve justice. If we don’t have organisations like Green and Black Cross to support activists, then we won’t have anyone doing the work that needs to be done.

One of the key questions DGR aims to ask environmentalists is to consider approaches beyond the usual legal response. But if we would like to organise power in a egalitarian distribution, we need to grapple with the laws. The trick is to do this as radicals, which means asking the questions:

  • Does this initiative redistribute power, not just change who is at the top of the pyramid?
  • Does it take away the rights of the oppressors and reestablish the rights of the dispossessed?
  • Does it let people control more of the material conditions of their lives?
  • Does it name and redress a specific harm?
  • Does this legal effort support a larger resistance movement?

We can stand on the sidelines with a more-radical-than-thou attitude, but this attitude will not help a single gasping salmon or starving child. A transition toward direct democracy built on a foundation of both human rights and human participation in the life of the planet is not conceptually difficult. Law is not just for liberals. The question is, what actions will get us from here to there? Neither sneering nor despairing has ever proven to be effective. It’s easy for nothing to be radical enough, but an interior state of rage is also not enough. Structural change needs to happen. A radical analysis starts from that fact. How best to force that change is a strategic question.

This is not a call to behave and ask nicely. The UK State upholds a corrupt arrangement of power. It was written by white men who owned white women as chattel and black men and women as slaves. It was written by white men who feel entitled to plunder the planet for their own profit and and whose primary interest is to protect that disgusting arrangement of power. We have no moral obligation to respect it, quite the opposite: we need to bring it down.

The next post in this series looking at responses to oppression will focus on direct action.

Frack Free February

Here’s some background information about Frack Free February, coming up soon…

Frack Free February, organised by Frack Free Somerset, is a Month of Action in Somerset with public meetings, talks, stalls, workshops, actions and more all raising awareness about the threats to communities and the bigger picture of extreme energy.

The Frack Free February Month of Action is an opportunity to:

  • Systematically raise awareness about fracking & extreme energy to communities at risk in Somerset – 50,000 leaflets will be distributing across towns & villages in the PEDL licensed areas
  • Create a wide variety of opportunities for participation and action to anyone moved by the literature and outreach activities & the thought of fracking taking place locally
  • Generate momentum for the campaign in 2013 and significantly increase planning application response capacity across the county e.g. starting more local groups, increasing the number of newsletter sign ups and so forth, so that when applications are submitted, we can best respond and support each other across the county.

For more information see: Frack Free Somerset or http://www.facebook.com/events/421862917883143/426461697423265/ or Frack Off.

Fracking is an assault on the land that must be stopped before it gets started. Learn how you can get involved and help resist it if you possibly can.