Sunday, January 06, 2013

When Rallies, Flyers and Public Forums Won't Work

They call themselves Deep Green Resistance Vancouver.    They're a group of local environmental activists calling "for militant action - including sabotage - to defend the environment."

Although they emphasize that as an aboveground organization they’ll only engage in nonviolent actions, one of the group’s stated objectives is to “shift public opinion toward supporting an underground resistance that exists or may come to exist”.

“It was born out of necessity,” Jason Doherty said about the concept of “deep green resistance” during a phone interview with the Straight. “A lot of environmental groups play a vital role in protecting the environment. However, if you look back at the track record of these organizations, you’ll find that a majority of them are dealing with a fairly dismal track record in terms of the actual destruction that they’ve prevented.”

 Joe Foy has been involved in the Canadian environmental movement since the mid ’80s, and the national campaign director of the Vancouver-based Wilderness Committee is familiar with the thinking behind direct action.

“I understand the philosophy and, certainly, when one looks at the loss of species, the decline of the oceans, the destruction of farmland, and especially the changing climate, an argument can be made that environmental protection would necessitate actions that may damage equipment or put people at risk,” Foy told the Straight in a phone interview. “I disagree with that. I think that if we are trying to build a society worth having, we should maintain the peaceful and respectful society that we have here in Canada and try to improve on it, not go the other way and create a society where decisions are made by who can wreak the most damage on the other. I reject that notion.”

But according to Daniel Whittingstall, an organizer with Deep Green Resistance Vancouver, the mainstream environmental movement has “only put a Band-Aid” over the deteriorating health of the planet.

It's not difficult to grasp the frustration that fuels the Deep Green movement but it can only play straight into the hands of unprincipled charlatans like Harper and Oliver who will hold them up as proof that those who oppose their bitumen scam are eco-terrorists.

The time to act will arrive plenty soon enough and that will be a time for truly large-scale but non-violent civil disobedience.   As plenty of native and non-natives alike have shown in British Columbia and elsewhere, we can close roads, we can stop trains from running, we can stop ferries from sailing.   We can keep trucks from rolling, excavators from digging.   We can shut the whole damned thing down and make Harper be the one to resort to violent confrontation.   Even then there'll be nothing to lose and much to gain if we refuse to respond in kind.


armchair antagonist said...

Interesting take on the article. We ended up writing a letter of clarification to the Straight after some intriguing misconceptions arose in comments by the readership. You might find what we had to say of some value, here is the link:

The Mound of Sound said...

Thanks for the link. I read the follow-up.