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Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defence of the Earth

Steven Best is the co-editor of the recently-published book, Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defence of the Earth, available from AK Press. Steven is an animal rights activist, author, and associate professor of humanities and philosophy at the University of Texas at El Paso, where he teaches courses such as ethics, social philosophy, animal rights, environmental theory, and philosophy of science and technology. He has written and edited seven books, including Terrorists or Freedom Fighters? Reflections on the Liberation of Animals (2004). And he is co-founder of the Center of Animal Liberation Affairs, the first group dedicated to the philosophical discussion of animal liberation.

In our interview, Steven talks about different aspects of revolutionary environmentalism, which he sees as the bridging of environmental issues with analyses of race, class, gender, and other oppressive dynamics, as well as the radicalization of ecological defence activities. Historically, environmentalism in North America has been a white bourgeois pursuit, from the 19th century through to the 1970s (which continues today). Recently, more people have been recognizing that environmentalism cannot succeed without social justice, and social justice cannot be realized without an awareness of the many pressures we face because of today's ecological crisis.

It is with the understanding that we are in "an advanced state of ecocide... and in the Earth's six mass extinction crisis," that Steven offers an explanation of the "logic to radicalism." Whether with struggles to end slavery, apartheid in South Africa, or to win civil rights for people of colour in the US, an increasing radicalization has always been an integral part of these victories, and he believes that the struggle to defend animals and the Earth from slavery and destruction are no different.

Part 1 22:27
Part 2 24:39

Recorded June 28, 2006

p.s. ... The song at the end of the interview is by the Declining Amphibian Phenomenon, called Elements of Refusal. The quote at the beginning is from John Zerzan.

For a detailed review of Igniting a Revolution, please check the book review.
 

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