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Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet (2011)

by Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith, Aric McBay

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1528179,585 (3.68)1
Industrial civilisation is incompatible with life. Technology can't fix it and shopping, no matter how green, won't stop it. To save the planet, only a serious resistance movement can bring down the industrial economy. Three leading and controversial voices evaluate its strategic options, from non-violence to guerrilla warfare. They provide an exploration of organisational structures, recruitment, security and target selection for both above ground and underground action and discuss a culture of resistance and the crucial support role it plays.… (more)
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English (7)  French (1)  All languages (8)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This is an intensely frustrating book. I just concluded my 2nd attempt to get through it.

Let me say that I am passionately in agreement with the authors' contentions. I just think this book shoots itself in the foot.

The first time I tried reading it, I put it down because I was starting to feel hectored/harangued. The general tenor of my reaction was "look, I agree with you, I'm a member of the choir, why are you shouting at me?" And so based on that experience, my capsule review would have said the main problem with the book was one of tone.

But it has worse problems. I got through more of the book this time, but reached a point where I was thinking "okay -- there've been 150+ pages about why this or that approach is misguided or is not enough. I'm gonna make it to the next section and hope against hope there is some sort of specific instruction regarding what DOES work." And then I got to the next chapter, "Other Plans" ("'other' plans?" I thought -- "you haven't presented ANY plans yet"), and on page 195 author Keith started in on another list of three approaches that don't work. I put the book down.

The writing here is passionate and, in a surface sense, "good." There is not much wrong with it qua writing -- and I certainly nodded along vigorously, although I think I was told six times that 200 species died today (PLEASE don't take this as my saying that that fact is not catastrophic -- it is). But FFS, DGR friends, you can't just tell me that "we have to stop using fossil fuels NOW" without providing concrete HOWTOs for the kind of resistance you're envisioning. Yes, okay, "classical liberalism" is too personality-based ... but you keep telling us what DOESN'T work and haven't told us what DOES. Surely in the first 200 pages there should have been some hint. Maybe I missed it.

I hate to single out author Lierre Keith for the blame, here, but the bulk of those 195 pages are hers. It's shitty of me to say, but how many species died while I was trying to get to the part of this book that recommends specific actions? ( )
  tungsten_peerts | Feb 23, 2021 |
This is the third Derrick Jensen book I've decided to inflict on myself, but probably not the last. They each start with great promise and by the end descend to infuriating illogical leaps, and this one was no different (it is the promise of each that lures me into trying again). However, the presence of two co-authors aided in readability.

Deep Green Resistance aims to motivate the formation of an underground army to carry out something they call Decisive Ecological Warfare. This is not a joke. Through reading guerrilla and resistance books and manuals from many historical periods, they put together a strategy for identifying the goal (destroy industrial civilization), developing a strategy, and identifying tactics (blowing things up, mostly). They helpfully include suggestions on things like minimizing security leaks and performing background checks on new recruits (again, not a joke). I can't speak to the practicality of any of this, never having run nor even participated in underground armies, but I can say that as I have no immediate nor long-term plans to assassinate anyone, I skipped that section altogether.

However, what the authors overlook in their very thorough review of global resistance movements past and present, is that this is not Nazi Germany, nor is it the Niger delta. That is: the very fact that they were able to write and publish this book through a mainstream publishing house, and that it is sold at large national bookstore chains, would seem to indicate that we live in a society where people have enough personal freedom that the extreme solutions they advocate are possibly not necessary, and almost certainly something most of us are not yet desperate enough to entertain. This is as kindly as I can put it. This would all point towards a 1/5 rating.

Also frustrating: the section on horizontal hostility (aka "infighting," where sub movements critique each other rather than their actual targets), then followed by approximately 100 pages of attacks on other kinds of environmentalists, and why their kind of environmentalism is inadequate. I don't know why this is necessary. Surely, even if you don't think they're using their time well by building wind farms, using cloth shopping bags and making community gardens, this does not make them the enemy and you don't need to call them names.

What bumps it up at a 3/5 is the analysis, which is spot on in many respects, and what they call the "aboveground" movement and tactics. In other words, if you can't go around blowing stuff up because you have other responsibilities, here are some things you can do that might actually help move this culture in a sustainable direction. And that's useful and, as with all of Jensen's books, beautifully written. Their passion for the natural world is unquestionable and their assessment of our straits is bang-on. But taking potshots at other environmentalists is totally unnecessary, their assessments of the other environmentalists' positions is inaccurate and unkind, and the comparison of industrial capitalism with nazi germany/nigeria renders much of their analysis and suggested solutions unuseable. I mean, for crying out loud, here I am, under my own name, writing a review of a book advocating the destruction of infrastructure and the assassination of capitalists, said book bought at Chapters, review published on a public website, and I have every expectation not to be arrested for it. Doesn't that say something? ( )
  andrea_mcd | Mar 10, 2020 |
Anarcho primitivism. Resistance culture.

What is liberal? What is conservative? What is radical? What is moderate?

These are relative terms. What does that mean? They’re set by the poles. That means that the wild card here are the poles. What’s outside this box can’t be influential.

So what? Well, what’s “possible” influences both our beliefs and our actions, even if we don’t go all the way up to the edge.

For example: If you believe that growing your own garden is radical, you might sign a petition about the Farm Bill. But if you believe that taking down civilization is radical [DGR] - a greatly expanded spectrum from the former - then you might really dig into the Farm Bill, and create a permaculture garden while you’re at it. We could call this pushing the center.

This is the light in which I found Deep Green Resistance useful. I wouldn’t say my aim in life is to consciously bring about the end of civilization [although it’s unconsciously moving that direction], as would many DGR people. I’m more in alignment with the optimistic views presented by Charles Eisenstein. But knowing that there are people out there that use this view as there compass helps to for me to orient myself.

Also, in a culture where we’re surrounded by antiterrorist propaganda, where the incumbent way of thinking is the only way to think [not that this is ever uncommon], DGR is a breath of fresh air. I would highly recommend it to help expand your horizons, even if I don’t endorse the authors’ viewpoints. ( )
  willszal | Jan 3, 2016 |
Anything I could say, lemontwist has said better, but in short, this is a great book for angry people who know it all and demand change now. Once you are out of your late teens/ early twenties, however, it starts to just sound like mindless yelling.
1 vote kristinides | May 13, 2014 |
Good ideas, but too long. Why not spend a little extra time editing this and have a really solid product? ( )
  dmac7 | Jun 14, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jensen, Derrickprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Keith, Lierremain authorall editionsconfirmed
McBay, Aricmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Industrial civilisation is incompatible with life. Technology can't fix it and shopping, no matter how green, won't stop it. To save the planet, only a serious resistance movement can bring down the industrial economy. Three leading and controversial voices evaluate its strategic options, from non-violence to guerrilla warfare. They provide an exploration of organisational structures, recruitment, security and target selection for both above ground and underground action and discuss a culture of resistance and the crucial support role it plays.

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