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Deep Green Resistance (DGR)

Primitivism and Ecofascism

Against Green Reactionaries: Writings on eco-fascists and exterminationists

By various - Green Antifascist - Spring 2020

A compilation of writings against ecofascist infiltration of revolutionary ecology and green anarchist milieus, includes:

  • Confronting the Rise of Eco-Fascism Means Grappling with Complex Systems - by Emmi Bevensee and Alexander Reid Ross
  • There’s nothing anarchist about Eco-Fascism - by Scott Campbell
  • On No Platform and ITS - by William Gillis
  • ITS, or the rhetoric of decay - a Joint statement of insurrectional groups in Mexican territory

Web editor's note: we highly recommend the first three sections of this document. As for the last chapter, we vehemently disagree with their anti-organizational and anti-structural dogma as well as their sectarian denunciations of "the left", but welcome their distancing from ITS and similarly minded eco-fascists. In any case, the document is a package deal. Plus, note our standard disclaimer:

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author.

Download (PDF).

Transphobes Still Welcome at Public Interest Environmental Law Conference

By Trans and/or Women’s Action Collective - Earth First! Journal, March 29, 2016

EUGENE, OR – Members of the Trans and/or Women’s Action Collective are no strangers to direct action. Since the early formation of TWAC from amongst the membership of groups like Earth First!, the collective – which was created initially to address patriarchal behavior, misogyny, and transphobia within the radical environmental movement – has been involved in campaigns against resource extraction, corporate prisons, trans-exclusionary legislation, ICE raids, destruction of public and Native lands, criminalization of sex workers, wildlife culling, and police brutality and racism. On March 5th, TWAC activists and allies found themselves once more embattled as they confronted members of the transphobic group Deep Green Resistance at the annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference at the University of Oregon.

Deep Green Resistance, a group founded by trans-exclusionary radical “feminists” Lierre Keith and Derrick Jensen, has been a bone of contention in the radical environmental scene for many years, contention which came to the fore again in 2013 with the release of DGR member Rachel Ivey’s video monologue “The End of Gender”  in which she reiterates the radical feminist rhetoric that transgender people (or, “people who call themselves transgender”) are in fact champions of the patriarchal gender binary, as well as deeply dangerous to feminism and women. This video, Ivey’s public speaking tour, and the continued presence of Deep Green Resistance in environmentalist spaces such as the Law & Disorder Conference and PIELC, spurred protest from trans activists and allies around North America.

In 2014, the PIELC organizers were protested for inviting Lierre Keith to be one of their keynote speakers, despite her well-known anti-trans rhetoric and the very public transphobic views of DGR as a group. Over 1,000 emails expressing concern over Keith’s presence were sent to the University prior to the event, and local and national environmental groups petitioned PIELC and UO to cancel Keith’s talk with a letter signed by more than 30 organizations across a broad spectrum of social and environmental causes. Protests culminated in a collective walk-out during Keith’s keynote speech. PIELC organizers have not yet apologized or addressed the issue, though DGR has been invited back every year since.

On Saturday March 5th, dismayed at DGR’s increased presence at PIELC this year, activists and their allies covered the DGR table with a banner declaring “DGR Not Welcome! No Transphobia in Defense of Mother Earth” and stood by their words as conference organizers tore the banner in half and demanded that the protesters leave the area. The protesters remained by the DGR table even after their banner was destroyed, engaging with the public and holding space for conversations about transphobia and trans rights. 

“Deep Green Resistance entwines their transphobic views with their vision of an ecologically healthy future,” says trans activist Shane Lenartz, who has worked with groups such as Earth First!, Rising Tide, and the Trans and/or Women’s Action Collective (TWAC). “Their degrading and dehumanizing attitude towards trans people, especially trans women, is not a new thing, and it’s not excusable. We have been fighting this issue for years. As environmental activists, we are sick and tired of having to come to conferences like this and see transphobic groups like DGR being openly represented and given space.”

Against Deep Green Resistance

By Michelle Renée Matisons and Alexander Reid Ross - Institute for Anarchist Studies, August 9, 2015

The Radical Turn?

For a book that advertises itself as a “shift in strategy and tactics,” Deep Green Resistance (DGR) has an overwhelmingly dispiriting tone, and is riddled with contradictions.[1] While DGR provocatively addresses many pressing social and ecological issues, its opportunistic, loose-cannon theoretical approach and highly controversial tactics leaves it emulating right-wing militia rhetoric, with the accompanying hierarchical vanguardism, personality cultism, and reactionary moralism. By providing a negative example, DGR does us the service of compounding issues into one book. Take it as a warning. As we grasp for solutions to multiple and compounding social and ecological crises, quick fixes, dogmatism, and power grabbing may grow as temptations. By reviewing DGR, we are also defending necessary minimal criteria for movements today: inclusivity, democracy, honesty, and (dare we suggest) even humility in the face of the complex problems we collectively face. None of these criteria can be found in DGR, and its own shortcomings are a telling lesson for us all.

It is instructive that the group based on DGR has become geared almost exclusively to outreach, not unlike a book club. At certain times, they claim to forbid their members from participating in illegal activity after having attempted a short-lived attempt to generate a grassroots, direct action network. At other times, DGR members claim to be involved in nonviolent civil disobedience. The ambiguity of their attempt at organization stems from the muddled ideas of two of the book’s authors, Derrick Jensen and Lierre Keith, who forced out the main organizer, Premadasi Amada, as well as their other co-author, Aric McBay, over the question of inclusive gender policies.[2]

DGR’s organizational body (distinct from the book, but modeled after it) leads us to agree that they have been rightly accused by former members of acting like a cult rather than as part of a larger movement. They seem much more interested in lionizing their leadership than in taking direct action.[3]

DGR’s approach is purely ideological; they intend not to form their own groups or cells to carry out direct action, but to teach the need for direct action to the supposedly ignorant masses. Such an attitude of approaching from above, rather than joining in solidarity, is degrading to peoples’ ability to self-organize. We must equally lead and be led by engaging in struggle, not standing outside of it. Our ultimate conclusion is that DGR’s goal of “civilization’s” destruction through “underground” attacks against infrastructure manifests both an ideological and strategic misdirection, foreclosing the potential for participatory democracy and direct action as it veers into intellectual dishonesty and irreconcilable political contradictions.

No System but the Ecosystem: Earth First! and Anarchism

By Panagioti Tsolkas - Anarchist Studies, March 31, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s. 

There is a clear case to be made for the connection between ecology and anarchism.1 Many philosophers, academics, and radicals have elaborated this over the past two centuries2. But reviewing the history of this theoretical relationship is not the goal here. The movement surrounding anarchism in the past 200 years has certainly included its fair share of theory, yet what has rooted anarchist ideas so deeply in human society is the prioritization of action. It is this action-based relationship between the ecological movement and anarchism that we explore.

How has anarchism inspired and shaped ecological action in recent history, and how might it continue to? The experience of Earth First! over three-and-a-half decades embodies the most critical aspects of this question.

While Earth First! (EF!) has never considered itself to be explicitly anarchist, it has always had a connection to the antiauthoritarian counterculture and has operated in an anarchistic fashion since its inception3. In doing so, it has arguably maintained one of the most consistent and long-running networks for activists and revolutionaries of an anarchist persuasion with the broader goal of overturning all socially constructed hierarchies.

In Oppose and Propose: Lessons From Movement for a New Society, which covers an under-acknowledged antiauthoritarian history, author Andrew Cornell makes a case about MNS carrying the legacy of nonhierarchical radical activism from the civil rights and anti-war era of the ’60s into the anti-nuke era of the ’80s. Cornell points to MNS essentially carrying the torch just long enough to spark what would become the global justice movement of the late ’90s.

A similar case can be made for Earth First!, particularly within the decade between the formal end of MNS and the 1999 uprising against the World Trade Organization in the streets of Seattle. Except rather than formally calling it quits, as MNS did in ’89, EF! stuck around, stumbling through several waves of internal strife and state repression to continue into its 35th year as a decentralized, horizontally-organized, anticapitalist, antistate force to be reckoned with.4

As many anarchist-oriented projects come and go, it is worthwhile to explore how and why those efforts that persist over decades are able to do so. Even more importantly, in this time of global urgency surrounding an escalation of overlapping ecological crises (extinction, extraction, climate change, etc.), and the recuperation of environmentalism by a “green” industrial economy, the story of Earth First!—for all its imperfections and baggage—has crucial lessons for ecological revolutionaries.

EcoUnionist News #19

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, January 7, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

The following news items feature issues, discussions, campaigns, or information potentially relevant to green unionists:

Lead Story:

Carbon Bubble:

Other News of Interest:

For more green news, please visit our news feeds section on ecology.iww.org; Twitter #IWWEUC

Whose Consumption is Killing the Planet?

By Ragina Johnson and Michael Ware - Socialist Worker, September 9, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

THE CONSEQUENCES of human-induced climate change are dire. Crop failures will increase. Severe weather and rising sea levels will wreak more havoc. Species are being wiped out by the hour--and the continued existence of our own is threatened.

Even without the threat of climate change, we live in a world of vast inequality, where the majority of the world's population struggles to meet basic needs like putting food on the table--while corporations refuse to pay living wages, and decent health care and housing remain unaffordable for many, when there is access at all.

As of 2010, 2.4 billion people in the world were living on less than $2 a day--more than one-third of the world's population. Close to 1 billion people live on less than a $1 a day on average. Nearly 870 million people suffer from hunger and malnutrition, according to UN standards--around one in every eight people on the planet.

The growing numbers and size of urban slums throughout the world have typified this poverty in the modern era. One-third of the global urban population lives in what are classified as slums--6 percent of the urban population in developed countries and a staggering 80 percent in developing countries. Most slum dwellers live without clean water or other infrastructure.

Yet some people would have us think that the growing ranks of the poor are the real source of environmental stress and food shortages, rather than demand from those who rule in the Global North.

This is simply not true. According to environmental writer Fred Pearce, the poorest 3 billion people are responsible for only 7 percent of global emissions of greenhouse gases, while the richest 7 percent produce half of all emissions.

Clearly, the world's poor are not driving climate change. Food shortages have more to do with the price of food, not its availability.

A Toxic Culture of Violence and Shame: How DGR’s Denial of Transphobia Exposes Worse Tendencies

By The Letter Collective - Earth First! Journal Online, February 23, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Lierre Keith’s Platform of Hate

Deep Green Resistance’s gender doyen, Rachel Ivy, has posted a new attack on trans* people, called “A Partial List of Lies (With Corrections) in Recent Anti-Feminist Letter.” Cloaked as a defense against a sign on letter that we organized, Ivey’s screed attempts to deconstruct the letter signed by more than 30 organizations across a broad spectrum of social and environmental causes.[1] Even when insisting that they are not trans* phobic, Ivey makes numerous trans* phobic claims.

The open letter, co-signed by the Earth First! Journal Collective, Greenpeace USA, Rising Tide North America, local groups ranging from the Cascadia Forest Defenders to the Portland Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, and other groups like Tar Sands Blockade, the Queer Caucus of the National Lawyers Guild, RAMPS, and Peaceful Uprising, presents three main principles: (1) Lierre Keith is transphobic and does not support safer spaces policies, and (2) Keith’s gender analysis has led to increasingly divisive behavior by DGR, which is deleterious for the environmental movement as a whole (3) Keith should not be allowed to give a keynote speech at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC).

Calling this huge list of groups across Turtle Island “liars” and “anti-feminist” for taking a strong stance against transphobia is something we have come to expect from such an alienated and isolated group as DGR. In fact, a majority of those who contributed their ideas, time, and words to the sign on letter were women. This fact was totally skipped over by DGR, an organization that reflexively assumes activists who are critical of the ideas of their advisory board are automatically liars and anti-feminist.[2] For instance, in another post, Ivey even attacks the Civil Liberties Defense Center, an incredibly important legal organization with women in the positions of president and executive director, for “horizontal hostility” after they released a solidarity statement against DGR’s transphobia.[3] The first comment on the website comes from a DGR supporter who caustically states, “Because the most entire important thing in the world is bullying women into believing penis is female!… Accepting the Ladystick into lesbian vaginas is much more important than long-term survival.”

Student, Eco and Indigenous Groups Oppose Transphobia at Conference

Originally published at earthfirstjournal.org, February 17, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

More than 30 radical environmental organizations took a strong stance against transphobia by calling for the removal of outspoken transphobe Lierre Keith from the list of keynote speakers at the University of Oregon’s Public Interest Environmental Law Conference.

With signatories including national and local forest defense groups, the letter represents key voices of environmental justice to appalachia defense to indigenous solidarity. The letter states, “PIELC has an obligation to promote safer spaces inclusive of LGBQTTI people. PIELC must not become a venue for trans* exclusionary hate that breeds an environment of hostility and violence.”

Keith has described the trans* community as “deeply misogynist and reactionary,” stating that “men insisting they are women is insulting and absurd.”

Though relatively unknown in the environmental movement until a few years ago, Keith was brought to a larger audience through her co-authorship of Deep Green Resistance, alongside McBay and primitivist author Derrick Jensen. Since then, she has been a part of an organization modeled after the book, also called Deep Green Resistance (DGR), which many see as divisive and sectarian.

The letter asserts, “Neither Keith nor DGR have played decisive or visible roles in campaigns against clearcutting, fossil fuel infrastructure, and climate change in Cascadia, while many of us have dedicated our lives to making these causes inclusive and non-reactionary.”

Here is the PIELC  sign on letter in full:

Capital Blight - The Root of the Problem

By x344543 – October 8, 2013

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

I really would rather not be writing this; I honestly wish that I didn’t feel that it was necessary. However, some things simply cannot be left unaddressed.

As one of the half dozen or so charter members of the IWW’s Environmental Unionism Caucus, I comb through a good deal of class struggle and/or environmental news sources, since one of our goals is raising awareness. These sources come from a variety of directions, including syndicalist, socialist, anarchist, progressive environmentalist, and deep green (though not Deep Green Resistance, because of the latter’s transphobia and rigid primativist tendencies). Naturally, one of the most logical sources for this last tendency is Earth First!. Rarely is any source 100% in line with what I and my fellow “Green Wobblies” think represents our position (loosely defined though that may be), and Earth First! is no exception. That which doesn’t fit is generally ignored, and we “stand aside” as they say in the language of modified consensus process. Sometimes, however, our sources will publish something so egregiously wrong, in our opinion, that we feel compelled to respond.

Saturday, October 5, 2013, Earth First! re-published just such a story, called Thanks A Lot, Nebraska, by the Tucson chapter of Root Force (TURF).

What is Root Force you ask? Here’s their mission statement:

Root Force (Fuerza Raíz) is a campaign that recognizes the fundamental connection between the oppression of the Earth and the oppression of its people. The precursor to ecocide and genocide is the separation of people from the land so that both can be exploited. Thus Root Force is a biocentric campaign, asserting that no oppression can be overcome without addressing the relationship a society has with the Earth. To achieve either social or ecological justice, we must achieve both.

Therefore, Root Force aims to help dismantle the system that is killing and enslaving our planet and its people. This will be achieved by (1) identifying the system’s strategic weak points, and (2) targeting those points, thus providing an offensive component to existing ecodefense, international solidarity, and anti-colonialist efforts.

One strategic weak point is the U.S. dependence on the resources of Latin America. The exploitation of these resources is dependent on transportation, energy, and communications infrastructure. Hence this U.S.-based campaign focuses its efforts on opposing infrastructure expansion projects in Latin America, such as Plan Puebla Panama (PPP) and the South American Regional Infrastructure Integration Initiative (IIRSA).

The campaign provides a framework for people to take effective action in solidarity with local resistance to these projects without traveling to Latin America. It is structured to allow for a diversity of tactics, to be undertaken by a wide network of autonomous individuals and groups.

This seems reasonable enough; in fact, I cannot find any really objectionable position in this mission statement at all. Much of it could easily mesh with the Preamble to the IWW Constitution, so having established that, I find the content of the article itself to be quite disturbing.

Essentially, TURF is miffed that a coalition including Nebraska ranchers and farmers, the Nebraska Farmer’s Union, Bold Nebraska, 350.org, Sierra Club, Credo, and billionaire Tom Steyer are protesting the impending construction of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline by constructing a wind- and solar- powered barn in its projected pathway.

Granted there are many criticisms one could make of this action, such as the fact that a great many of these folks are capitalists or enablers of capitalists, the fact that Keystone XL is not the only pipeline we need to worry about, or the obvious fact that Keystone could simply build the pipeline somewhere else (there are enough rural counties sufficiently beholden to corporate fossil fuel interests to ram through the permits barn or no barn), but in spite of these shortcomings, there are lot of good things that could be said about the project as well, including—in my opinion at least—the advocacy of renewable energy, such as wind and solar which could allow a state such as Nebraska which has a fairly good abundance of both to potentially generate all of its own electricity and perhaps even export a bit.

No doubt doing so would lessen that state’s reliance on fossil fuels, and though some of those are extracted and refined locally, the impact of those on the environment effects us globally in ways that greatly outweigh any significant impact from wind and solar. Certainly that would seem to fit the mission of Root Force would it not? Evidently the answer is a resounding “no”. Root Force is overwhelmingly opposed to renewable energy arguing that it simply props up the existing system and perpetuates the destruction of the Earth (and to be certain, the Earth First! Journal published Root Force's position paper on renewables in February 2009).

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