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The third meeting of the DGR Santa Barbara book club was held on Sunday, May 7th at the Eastside Library.  We discussed chapter 4 of Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet.  The following questions were posed to inspire discussion:

1) How did the “Alternative vs. Oppositional Culture” comparison affect your understanding of this distinction and your understanding of political action?
2) Do you believe that an alternative culture built around the project of an individualistic experience (whether spiritual or psychological) can create a resistance movement?
3) Where have you seen millenarianism in political movements? How does this affect the effectiveness of those movements, especially ones you have been a part of?
4) Do you see a culture of resistance forming in this country, in this state, in Santa Barbara? How could we help to encourage a culture of resistance here?
5) How does the dominant culture teach us to ignore the wisdom of our elders? Do you agree with the analysis presented in this chapter that resistance movements need both the young and the old to succeed?
6) What was your favorite part of the reading?

A couple people agreed that this is their favorite chapter in the entire book because it really clarifies the difference between the alternative culture of, for example, the hippies, and an oppositional culture.  Alternative cultures cannot create a true, effective resistance movement because they do not challenge the structures of power that maintain the status quo.  This distinction is really valuable, especially for young people exploring different groups and discovering what they want to do with their lives.

The discussion then turned to the concept of challenging monogamy as an integral part of certain alternative cultures.  In most cases, this is nothing more than a convenient, radical-sounding excuse for misogynistic men to share sexual access to women.  However, some women have also critiqued monogamy from a feminist perspective.  In their vision, relationships should be based on women’s and men’s wants being equally important.  Harmful, gendered socialization, which perpetuates the patriarchal idea of men owning women, would not exist.  This led to a few attendees sharing their views about how another, egalitarian society could look and how relationships in that culture would be different than those in the dominant culture today.

During the meeting, we did not have time to fully cover the discussion questions; a discussion about chapter 4 will be continued through email.  If you would like to be on that email list, please contact us at santabarbara@deepgreenresistance.org.

If you are interested in attending future book club meetings, subscribe to our local chapter news using the box on the right side of our website.  The book club is taking a break for the summer.  Our next meeting will be in late August.

The second meeting of the DGR Santa Barbara book club was held on Sunday, April 9th at the Eastside Library.  We discussed Chapters 2 and 3 of Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet.  The following questions were posed to inspire discussion:

1) Do you think civilization, industrial or otherwise, is redeemable? Why or why not?
2) How did the “Liberalism vs. Radicalism” comparison affect your understanding of this distinction and your understanding of political action?
3) How has your understanding of any of the four main categories of action discussed in Chapter 3 (legal remedies, direct action, withdrawal, and spirituality) changed?
4) Do you think an underground movement should mobilize to dismantle civilization?
5) Do you think it is ever appropriate to use violence as a political tool?
6) What was your favorite part of the reading?

After the DGR members present at the meeting described our definition of civilization, nobody agreed that it could be redeemable.  Civilization is inherently unsustainable, because cities–the defining features of a civilization–require the importation of resources.  This means that civilization is not synonymous with culture or community; for the majority of humanity’s history we did not live in cities, but we still had communities and various cultures.  The rise of civilization severed humans’ connection to the land and led to widespread cases of what are known as the “diseases of civilization:” cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.

There was a lot of interest in understanding the difference between liberals and radicals.  One attendee pointed out that in the reading, Lierre Keith states that the left starts with a rejection of capitalism.  So the major political party that posits itself as on the “left,” the Democratic Party, is not really on the left at all.  During the meeting, we talked about how liberalism views the individual as the basic social unit, while radicalism views groups or classes as the basic social unit.  In the US, local communities cannot legally stop giant corporations from poisoning their water, soil, and air because an individual’s right to commerce is more important, and corporations are individuals under US law.  Radicals understand that corporations are generally a class of rich, white men exploiting others for power and that local communities should be able to protect themselves from exploitation and environmental disaster.  Liberals believe that racist, misogynistic, and other hateful & violent individuals should have their recruitment strategies protected because of “freedom of speech.”  However, radicals recognize that someone’s right to free speech should not supersede oppressed groups’ right to safety.

DGR members appreciate how the organization recognizes that legal remedies and some form of leadership can be very beneficial to resistance movements.  Many other leftist groups have a knee-jerk rejection of any authority and the pursuit of legal strategies, regardless of their effectiveness.  We believe there can be a difference between how our resistance movements are organized and how the new society that we want to replace civilization will be organized.

DGR is a strictly aboveground organization, and so we have no knowledge about underground movements that is not already public information.  We are outspoken that an underground movement is needed to dismantle industrial civilization for the sake of life on Earth.  One potential danger of an underground movement is that destroying infrastructure in one place could allow civilized people elsewhere to ramp up their destruction.  That is why any underground strategy must target key points that will result in global, cascading systems failure.  The examples of Chernobyl and the Northeast blackout of 2003 were brought up.  Even after the vast nuclear fallout at Chernobyl, the region has began to recover and now there are even packs of wolves in the area.  Just hours after the 2003 blackout, air (and light) pollution had significantly diminished.  Both of these cases resulted from operator error, not a targeted attack.

The meeting went very well and we were having such a great conversation that we ran out of time to talk about the last 2 questions!  A discussion about chapters 2 and 3 will be continued through email.  If you would like to be on that email list, please contact us at santabarbara@deepgreenresistance.org.

If you are interested in attending future book club meetings, subscribe to our local chapter news using the box on the right side of our website.

The first meeting of the DGR Santa Barbara book club was held on Sunday, March 12th at the Eastside Library.  We discussed Chapter 1 of Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet.  Some questions were posed to inspire discussion: 1) What was your favorite part of the reading? 2) How does this relate to what’s happening in the Santa Barbara area? 3) How can you apply this to your activism? 4) Do you believe this culture will undergo a voluntary transition to a safe and sustainable way of living?

One of the first remarks about this chapter was the disturbing realization that all the statistics mentioned (the average female polar bear’s weight before hibernation has dropped from 650 to 507 lbs, plastic in the Pacific outweighs plankton 48 to 1, etc.) are probably much worse now that is it 2017 (the book was published in 2011).

The group discussed the question of whether or not technology will save us–the implication was that “us” means “humans” and not “the planet.”  The following question was posed: is technology serving us or are we slaves to technology?  One attendee commented that we are living in a time where some people are talking about humans going extinct in the next 50 years, while others are talking about becoming immortal by uploading their consciousness onto a computer.

The conversation later turned towards the issue of what sustainability means.  It was pointed out that the word “sustainable” has become practically meaningless in the mainstream because of its widespread use to describe things like mining & asphalt corporation’s “environmental stewardship.”  If humans were to truly live sustainably, that way of life could look something like the way our ancestors lived before the advent of agriculture.  The vision for a better way of life will vary from person to person, and some do not necessarily include humans in that vision.  However, if humans are to survive after industrial civilization has ended, how would we culturally reproduce?

All of those who attended appeared to agree that the clarity of the writing inspires us to action.  We wondered how anyone could read something like this and not agree that this destructive way of life must end immediately.

A discussion of this chapter will be continued through email.  If you would like to be on that email list, please contact us at santabarbara@deepgreenresistance.org.

If you are interested in attending future book club meetings, subscribe to our local chapter news using the box on the right side of our website.

On Sunday, November 6th, the Santa Barbara chapter of Deep Green Resistance hosted the first stop of the Women’s Resistance Tour in Los Angeles, CA.  There were approximately 25 attendees, traveling all the way from Sacramento in the north to San Diego in the south.

 

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The focus of the Women’s Resistance Tour stop in LA was to give attendees the tools to engage in effective radical feminist activism to end patriarchy.

 

There were two presentations in the morning:

1. “Radical Feminist Resistance” discussed the distinction between liberals and radicals, described the categories of patriarchal control & examples of ways to respond, outlined the difference between alternative and oppositional cultures, and presented some examples of effective resistance movements.

2. “Misogyny and Ecocide” discussed the link between our woman-hating culture and the devaluation of the natural world, including the fact that the advent of agriculture & civilization contributed to both the formation of patriarchy & militaries as well as marking the beginning of widespread ecocide & the severing of humankind’s connection to nature.

 

The afternoon consisted of different workshops for the female and male attendees.  The women’s group started off with a kickass presentation from Warrior Sisters, an organization that provides free self-defense classes to women in order to combat the high rates of violence against women in our culture.

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Warrior Sisters gave a presentation about their organization. You can learn more here: http://warrior-sisters.org/.

 

The two representatives from Warrior Sisters demonstrated some helpful techniques in setting boundaries and, when necessary, physically stopping perpetrators.

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Two Warrior Sisters trainers showed us how to break free of a wrist grab.

 

Next, the women heard from a Board member of the Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF), a radical feminist organization dedicated to the total liberation of women.  WoLF is currently in the process of suing the United States federal government over the recent joint DOJ/DOE guidance that redefines “sex” to mean “gender identity” under Title IX.  This sets a dangerous precedent for the rights of women & girls in the United States, as Title IX is the only piece of federal legislation which protects females as a historically oppressed class.  Redefining Title IX to erase biological sex, the basis of the oppression of women & girls under patriarchy, will eliminate a multitude of protections for women & girls, such as: certain scholarships in STEM fields, separate locker rooms and showers for females in public schools, anti-discrimination laws in the workplace, and much more.

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WoLF is suing the U.S. federal government to protect the rights of women and girls.  You can donate to the legal fundraiser here: https://womensliberationfront.nationbuilder.com/.

 

The women’s group concluded with a discussion of how to strategize when organizing radical feminist actions, inspired by this video by Zoe Blunt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vS4dJ2WWLE.  The end of the workshop consisted of a discussion on a topic that the women attendees chose: ending sexual exploitation of women & girls (i.e., pornography and prostitution).  I was so inspired by the group’s passion about this topic and look forward to working with them on this issue in the future.

 

The men’s group participated in two discussion-oriented presentations entitled “Male Violence: A Men’s Problem” and “How to Be a Better Pro-Feminist Ally,” led by two male members of DGR, Kyle and Dillon.  “Our discussions went very well.  It was nice to sit down and talk in a group of similarly-minded men about how to improve our activism, especially when we shared and critiqued each others’ stories of what to do and what not to do in relation to bystander intervention,” said Kyle.

Men are not feminists, but they can ally themselves with feminists to help fight patriarchy.  You can read DGR’s Feminist Solidarity Guidelines here: http://deepgreenresistance.org/en/what-we-do/deep-green-resistance-feminist-solidarity-guidelines/.

 

It was great seeing all the attendees talking to each other and getting excited about the activities throughout the day.  I really felt like we were coming together as a radical feminist community, and this was an essential part of creating a resistance movement against patriarchy here in southern California.

 

If you are interested in seeing the presentations from this event, or want to be involved with organizing events like this in the future, please email us at santabarbara@deepgreenresistance.org.