Part Two: The Four Tasks
In Part One we looked at some of radical ecology's recent history; now it's time to stop looking back and start looking forward. I called Part One 'Recent Pre-History' because the past is prologue. An understanding of our own movement's evolution so far is essential when discussing in which direction(s) we want to evolve.
For if we are going to help catalyse a movement that can "confront, stop and eventually reverse the forces responsible for the destruction of the earth and its inhabitants," we are going to need good strategy.
We live in important times. This moment does not allow us much margin of error.
This is an attempt to solidify my ideas on our strategy and put them across in a digestible form. Though I am doing the typing and the mental filing, the ideas are by no means mine alone. Some are very common in our circles, in the last few years having reached the point of cross-group consensus. I will state them nonetheless as it's useful for those who've recently entered our arcane world, who may not know the subtext. They are also worth clarifying for those of us whose minds, filled with the subtext, become murkier every day. Many of the ideas are not in any way cross-group consensus. They are offered up and can be treated as delicacies or dogfood depending on your taste.
This is a strategy document written to promote discussion in Britain's radical ecological direct action movement. Much of it may be useful for people from other circles and countries. BUT it is NOT an attempt to build some overriding strategy for 'the emerging global resistance' or any similar abstraction. While it may be useful for readers in the global North, I reckon it's largely out of context in the Majority World. Even within Western Europe, culture, terrains of struggle and movements vary a lot. It's worth reiterating the obvious. Strategy should be informed by the global context but primarily shaped by the local conditions.
A Small Editorial Note
'Part Two: The Four Tasks' was pre-published for the EF! Winter Moot in 2002 where 150 copies were given out free. I did this for two reasons. Firstly I wanted to get feedback with an aim to improvement, and secondly I feared that DoD No. 10 would not come out for months... or years. DoD No. 10 came out 17 months later and I got quite a lot of wise responses. Many of those thoughts from good warriors and friends have been incorporated in the re-written text printed here. In large part this project, despite its meglomaniacal undertones, was always a collective effort - a bringing together of many of the strands that bind us together as movements. The many helpful suggestions, criticisms and funny chats that resulted have made it all the more so.
As a strategy document it is 'of its time' more that most writings, maybe. As you are reading this well over a year after it was written, action has moved on. One glaring example is the peat campaign, mentioned as an embryonic campaign, when in fact it has now succeeded in most of its original objectives. Some recommendations in this 'Part Two' have been taken up, others ignored. While some increased activity in some areas may seem - in hindsight - a result of this text, it would mostly be more true to see the four tasks as mirroring existing trends, not necessarily inspiring them. In some places I have updated the text to take consideration of this time lag, mostly though I have just left the text unchanged with the occasional [editorial intermission].
- I. Growing Counter-Cultures
- We need to catalyse living, loving, fighting counter-cultures that can sustain rebellion across generations. In both collective struggle and our everyday lives we must try to live our ecological and libertarian principles. Our counter-cultures must be glimmers of ecological anarchy - fertiliser for the growth of collective imagination. Fulfilling this task is what will enable the others to be fulfilled over the long haul. The counter-cultures must be bases from which to carry out 'thumb in the dam' actions and give support to rebellions beyond the core. In times of crisis they should act decisively against authoritarian groups. The counter-culture's eventual aim should be total social transcendence - (r)evolution.
- II. Putting Our Thumb in the Dam
- Just as counter-cultures must open up space for (r)evolution to grow we must also open up time. The life support systems of the earth are under unprecedented attack. Biological meltdown is accelerating. (R)evolution takes decades to mature. Unless force is used on the margins of the global society to protect the most important biological areas we may simply not have enough time. The last tribal examples of anarchy, from whom we can learn a lot, could be wiped out within decades if not militantly defended. 'Thumb in the Dam' struggles aim to protect ecological diversity understanding that this civilisation WILL be terminated, by either the unlikely possibility of global (r)evolution or the certainty of industrial collapse.
- III. Preparing for Crises
- We must have the ability to defend ourselves, survive, and exploit crises in society including capitalist attempts to destroy us. The divided and industrial nature of today's society has already determined the instability of tomorrow.
- IV. Supporting Rebellion Beyond the Core
- The counter-culture must act in real solidarity with our struggling sisters and brothers on other islands. Aid them in whatever we can and bring the 'majority world' battlefronts to the boardrooms, bedrooms and barracks of the bourgeoisie.