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The Deep Green Resistance News Service is an educational wing of the DGR movement. We cover a wide range of contemporary issues from a biocentric perspective, with a focus on ecology, feminism, indigenous issues, strategy, and civilization. We publish news, opinion, interviews, analysis, art, poetry, first-hand stories, and multimedia.

▸ les 10 dernières parutions

16.05.2022 à 22:32

Collapse is Coming. An Unsustainable Society Will Not Last.

DGR News Service
Texte intégral (1138 mots)

Editor’s note: Collapse is not just coming; it is already here. Wildlife populations are collapsing, from oceanic fish to birds to amphibians to plankton. The climate system is breaking down. Glaciers and ice sheets are collapsing. Dead zones are proliferating in the ocean. People in wealthy nations are only insulated from these realities because of massive energy inputs—mostly from fossil fuels.

These are predictable results. An unsustainable culture will destroy the planet, and then it will collapse. Each day, more forest is logged, more pollution emitted, and more water poisoned. It is a tautology, therefore, that the sooner collapse happens, the more of the natural world will remain.

Predictions of societal collapse have been made for decades, and while specifics often turn out to be wrong, the general trends are undeniable. Today’s article looks back at “Limits to Growth,” one of the first such studies.


By Kirkpatrick Sale / Counterpunch

Sometime in the 1960’s a group of prominent businessmen in Europe decided it was time to face up to the contradiction that lies at the heart of mode n capitalism: it is a system based on infinite growth in a world with finite limits to growth: in input (resources, including food), throughput (population), output (pollution), and a likely collapse if any one of these limits is exceeded. In 1968 they created an organization called the Club of Rom e , the task of which w as to examine what the prime leader of the group, veteran Italian businessman Aurelio Peccei, described quaintly in his 1970 book, The Predicament of Mankind: Quest for Structured Response to Growing Worldwide Complexities and Uncertainties.

Fifty years ago this spring the Club published a book called The Limits to Growth, based on a study using complex computer models by a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology led by Donnella Meadows and her husband Dennis, with a couple of MIT graduate students. It used advanced computers to chart out different scenarios, including one in which nothing is done and we continue heedless growth. Its conclusion was stark and simple:

If the present growth trends in world population, industrialization, pollution, food production, and resource depletion continue unchanged, the limits to growth on this planet will be reached sometime in the next one hundred years. The most probable result will be a rather sudden and uncontrollable decline in both population and industrial capacity, causing “overshoot and collapse” with a tipping point around 2020-30.

The book was a worldwide best-seller, but its conclusions were widely challenged and, in centers of political and economic power, mostly ignored.  Growth is, after all, the lifeblood and raison d’etre of capitalism and the idea that there should be limits to it was so repugnant as to be essentially incomprehensible. A lot of people are making a lot of money, and a very few a very lot, so what would be the point in imagining that there would ever be an end to it?

And so the whole point of the Club of Rome’s efforts was shunted aside.  It had wanted people to start rethinking the assumptions of capitalism, questioning where untrammeled growth was taking us, and reflect upon the new kind of world that computer technology with its immense (and basically uncontrolled) power was leading us to.  And so capitalism became global capitalism, and then added computer capitalism and internet capitalism, and it continued to grow exponentially with no thoughts whatsoever to limits. It seemed as if there were something inherent in the computerized culture that demanded the growth-lovers would win out over the limits-warners.

A second study in 2000 confirmed that the original analysis found that nothing in the original thirty years earlier could be invalidated. “To the contrary,” said international banker Matthew Simmons, “the chilling warnings of how powerful exponential growth can be are right on track.” Only four years later the Meadows themselves came out with “The 30-Year Update,” holding that the original may have overemphasized resource depletion (fearing a coming “peak oil”) but underplayed pollution and the impact of greenhouse gasses, and nothing had been done on our path to overshoot. The growthists still ignored it and added cellphone capitalism and central bank appeasement into the mix in such a way that democratic control or restraint proved impossible.

A fourth study came in 2014 at the end of the Great Recession from University of Melbourne scholar Graham Turner who came to the conclusion that resource depletion, overpopulation, economic decline, industrial slowdown, and environmental collapse were following almost exactly the lines of the 1972 forecast—and leading straight to “overshoot and collapse” in 2020-30.

The most recent reassessment was in 2021 in the Journal of Industrial Ecology by Yale scholar Gaya Harrington, who found that the original Limits to Growth scenarios, including the dangerous business-as-usual one, “aligned closely with observed global data,” and “this suggests that it’s almost, but not yet, too late for society to change its course.”  As for business-as-usual, “Pursuing continuous growth is not possible.”  She failed to add “without overshoot and collapse.”

And just a month ago Dennis Meadows, asked how he felt about his original work, said calmly that all analyses “have generally concluded that “the world is moving along what we termed the standard  scenario” of growth.  He was not sanguine about society doing anything about changing that and averting global tragedy.  The human species, he said,  puts a “high survival value in focusing on the short term nearby and not worrying about the long-term far away.” A few weeks after that the latest comprehensive UN climate change panel confirmed that, concluding that severe  overheating of the world caused by greenhouse gases has already caused “widespread, pervasive impacts to ecosystems, people, settlements, and infrastructure.”

So all of the proposed reforms and remedies offered up in “green new deals” and renewable energy panaceas anywhere to date are completely useless because they are not aimed at capitalism’s fatal commitment to growth that the Club of Rome had wanted the world to reconsider.   And there is no sign anywhere that the nations of the world are willing to confront this fact and head toward any policy or proposal that would acknowledge that, much less doing anything to reverse it.

The inevitable result: “overshoot and collapse,” and not far off, either.


Kirkpatrick Sale is the author of twelve books over fifty years and lives in Ithaca, New York.

13.05.2022 à 04:35

Eco-Terrorist or Water Protector? Jessica Reznicek Appeals Terrorism Charges

DGR News Service
Texte intégral (510 mots)

Oral arguments for a federal appeal in the high profile case of environmental activist Jessica Reznicek will be heard by the 8th circuit court of appeal on May 13. In a defining moment for the climate justice movement and for all civil rights, the court will decide whether or not to uphold a “domestic terrorist enhancement” that an Iowa court applied to Reznicek’s prison sentence. Reznicek is expected to argue that the terrorism enhancement was both illegally and unjustly applied.

In 2016, Jessica Reznicek took action to stop the construction of Dakota Access Pipeline by dismantling construction equipment and pipeline valves. In 2021 she was sentenced to 8 years in prison with a domestic terrorism enhancement.

Under normal conditions Jess would have been sentenced to 37 months, but the terrorism enhancement resulted in a sentence of 96 months. She was also ordered to pay $3.2 million in restitution to Energy Transfer corporation.

The appeal is supported by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), National Lawyers Guild, Water Protectors Legal Collective, and the Climate Defense Project. “If Jessica Reznicek’s acts can be punished as terrorism,” says an amicus brief filed by CCR, “the United States will have moved so far past the international consensus as to be operating in a completely different realm.”

  • WHAT: Oral arguments for federal appeal, U.S.A. v. Jessica Reznicek. Case # 21-2548
  • WHO: United States Court of Appeals- 8th Circuit, DAPL activist Jessica Reznicek
  • WHEN: Friday, May 13 at 8:30 CST
  • WHERE: St Paul, Minnesota United States Court, Courtroom 5A. Closed to the public in person. Listen in by calling 1-888-363-4749 Code 4423562. Jessica Reznicek is 5th on the docket.

In 2017 Jessica Reznicek and a partner from the Catholic Worker Movement publicly claimed responsibility for acts of vandalism against the Dakota Access Pipeline. In February, 2021 she pled guilty to a single count of Conspiracy to Damage an Energy Facility. In June, 2021 an Iowa judge imposed a “terrorism enhancement” at the prosecution’s request and sentenced Reznicek to 8 years in prison with restitution of over $3 million to be paid to Energy Transfer LLC. No one was injured by Reznicek’s acts of civil disobedience.

Although federal courts have ruled the Dakota Access Pipeline was constructed illegally, excessive punishment for people like Jessica, who tried to stop it, is on the rise – and scrutiny is growing of fossil fuel industry influence in the process. Wrote Jessica in a 2021 statement to the court, “I am not a political person. I am certainly not a terrorist. I am simply a person who cares deeply about an extremely basic human right that is under threat: Water.”

To support Jess’s legal case, visit https://supportjessicareznicek.com/.


Photo: Occupy Des Moines – Day 113: Jess Reznicek Arrested, by Justin Norman. Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

09.05.2022 à 16:42

How to Organize: The Spectrum of Allies

DGR News Service
Texte intégral (1449 mots)

Editor’s note: The following conceptual tool is designed to help community organizers to categorize community groups, businesses, government bodies, and individuals along a “spectrum of allies.” This exercise teaches a fundamental tenet of community organizing: that our goal is not only to find people who agree with us fully, but to gradually shift those who disagree with us into greater political alignment.

We use this tool regularly in Deep Green Resistance training programs and campaigns, and encourage you to do so as well.


By Nadine Bloch

Introduction

Movements seldom win by overpowering the opposition; they win by shifting support out from under it. Use a spectrum-of-allies analysis to identify the social groups (students, workers) that are affected by your issue, and locate those groups along a spectrum, from active opposition to active allies, so you can focus your efforts on shifting those groups closer to your position. Identifying specific stakeholders (e.g. not just students, but students at public colleges; not just workers, but domestic workers) can help you identify the most effective ways of moving different social groups closer to your position, in order to win your campaign.

When mapping out your campaign, it is useful to look at society as a collection of specific communities, blocs, or networks, some of which are institutions (unions, churches, schools), others of which are less visible or cohesive, like youth subcultures or demographic groupings. The more precisely you can identify stakeholders and impacted communities, the better you can prepare to persuade those groups or individuals to move closer to your position. You can then weigh the relative costs and benefits of focusing on different blocs.

Evaluating your spectrum of allies can help you avoid some common pitfalls. Some activist groups, for instance, only concern themselves with their active allies, which runs the risk of “preaching to the choir” — building marginal subcultures that are incomprehensible to everyone else, while ignoring the people you actually need to convince. Others behave as if everyone who disagrees with their position is an active opponent, playing out the “story of the righteous few,” acting as if the whole world is against them. Yet others take a “speak truth to power” approach, figuring that through moral appeal or force of logical argument, they can somehow win over their most entrenched active opponents. All three of these extreme approaches virtually guarantee failure.

Movements and campaigns are won not by overpowering one’s active opposition, but by shifting each group one notch around the spectrum (passive allies into active allies, neutrals into passive allies, and passive opponents into neutrals), thereby increasing people power in favour of change and weakening your opposition.

For example, in 1964 in the U.S., the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a major driver of the African-American civil rights movement in the racially segregated South, realized that in order to win desegregation and voting rights for African Americans, they needed to make active allies of sympathetic white northerners. Many students in the North were sympathetic, but had no entry point into the movement. They didn’t need to be educated or convinced, they needed an invitation to enter the struggle. (Or in the spectrum-of-allies schema, they needed to be moved from passive allies into active allies.) Moreover, these white students had extended communities of white families and friends who were not directly impacted by the struggles of African-American southerners. As the struggle escalated, these groups could be shifted from neutral to passive allies or even active allies.

Based on this analysis, the SNCC made a strategic decision to focus on reaching neutral white communities in the North by engaging sympathetic white students in their Freedom Summer program. Busloads of students travelled to the South to assist with voter registration, and many were deeply radicalized in the process. They witnessed lynchings, violent police abuse, and angry white mobs, all a response to black Southerners simply trying to exercise their right to vote.

Many wrote letters home to their parents, who suddenly had a personal connection to the struggle. This triggered another desired shift: Their families became passive allies, often bringing their workplaces and social networks with them. The students, meanwhile, returned to school in the fall as active allies, and proceeded to organize their campuses — more shifts in the direction of civil rights. The result: a profound transformation of the political landscape.

This cascading shift of support wasn’t spontaneous; it was part of a deliberate movement strategy that, to this day, carries profound lessons for other movements.

How to use

Use this tool to identify the constituencies that could be moved one notch along the spectrum, as well as to assess the relative costs of reaching, educating, or mobilizing each of these constituencies. Do not use this tool to identify your arch enemies and go after them — it’s the people in the middle you’ll most often want to focus on. The groupings or individuals you identify should be as specific as possible: not just unions, for instance, but specific unions. The more specific you can be, the better this tool will serve you.

Here’s how to do a spectrum-of-allies analysis:

1. Set up a “half-pie” drawing (see diagram).

Label the entire drawing with the name of the specific movement or campaign you are discussing, and put yourself on the left side, with your opposition on the right side.

2. Divide the half-pie into five slices:

  • active allies, or people who agree with you and are fighting alongside you;
  • passive allies, or people who agree with you but aren’t (yet) doing anything about it;
  • neutrals, or the unengaged and uninformed;
  • passive opposition, or people who disagree with you but aren’t actively trying to stop you; and
  • active opposition, or people who not only disagree with you, but are actively organizing against you.

In the appropriate wedges, place different constituencies, organizations, or individuals. Spend a significant amount of time brainstorming the groups and individuals that belong in each of the sections. Be specific: list them with as many identifying characteristics as possible. And make sure to cover every wedge; neglecting sections will limit your strategic planning and your potential effectiveness.

3. Step back and see if you’re being specific enough

For every group or bloc you listed in the diagram, ask yourself whether you could be more specific — are there more adjectives or qualifiers you could add to give more definition to the description? You might be tempted to say “mothers,” but the reality might be that “wealthy mothers who live in gated communities” might belong in one wedge, and “mothers who work as market vendors” would belong in another. The more specific you can be, the better this tool will serve you.

4. Identify what else you need to know.

When you come up against the limits of your knowledge, make sure to start a list of follow-up questions — and commit to doing the research you’ll need to get the answers.

Combine with other tools

The spectrum of allies can also work well in combination with other methodologies:

  • First, use pillars of power to map out the biggest forces at play.
  • Combine with a SWOT matrix in order to help you identify all key constituencies.
  • Follow up with points of intervention in order to identify tactics and actions to engage the key constituencies you’ve identified.

Nadine Bloch is currently Training Director for Beautiful Trouble, as well as an artist, political organizer, direct action trainer, and puppetista. If you have a question for Nadine about this tool you can contact her via the form at the bottom on the Beautiful Uprising Spectrum of Allies article.

This article is published under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA license. Small portions of the original article were omitted for clarity.