Literature > Novels
Igniting A Revolution

Igniting A Revolution: Voices in Defense of the Earth
Steven Best, and Anthony J. Nocella, II.
Derrick Jensen, John Zerzan, Robert Jensen, Marilyn Buck, Jeff Luers, Robert Thaxton, Ann Hansen (Contributors).

ISBN: 1904859569   Publisher: AK Press   Release Date: 2006-04-22 

Global warming, acid rain, deforestation, air and water pollution are but a few of the overwhelming indicators that the earth's health is worsening. For decades, environmental groups have been resisting the destructive trends set by industry and government, but as the social and political climate has changed, popular protest movements have become less and less effective. As the earth's situation worsens, those opposing its destruction have out of necessity become increasingly militant. Corporate and federal properties have been vandalized, set ablaze-even bombed-and the government is meeting this new brand of environmental militance with an increasingly heavy hand.

Whether you're drawn by frustration with environmental strategies that, to date, have been ineffective against this growing ecological crisis, or simply by curiosity (Who are these people? Why are they doing this? What do they hope to gain?), Igniting a Revolution offers a fascinating and compelling look at the emerging movement of revolutionary environmentalism.
    Includes essays by Marilyn Buck, Robert Jensen, John Zerzan, Ashanti Alston, Jeffrey "Free" Luers, Derrick Jensen, Ann Hansen, and a preface by Bron Taylor.
    "This volume will interest any reader who wishes to hear directly from some of the leading intellectuals, activists and prisoners involved in these movements. The insights gained by listening directly to these voices...can hardly be overestimated"--Bron Taylor, from the preface.
    "There's no way that anyone can agree with everything laid out in this collection. But there is no way, either, that we can afford to ignore these varied voices, because the one sure path to destruction is that of business as usual."--Joel Kovel, The Enemy of Nature
    "As we face unprecedented ecological crises, along with growing political violence and state repression, revolutionary enivronmentalists claim that another world is possible. This book promises important insights into radical alternatives and principled resistance"--John Sorenson

"Can extralegal means justify an end? The future of terrestrial life itself may depend on whether or not serious debate on that very point is put back on the public agenda. Igniting a Revolution threatens to do just that."--Chris Hannah, Propagandhi



Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defence of the Earth is one of the most powerful books I have ever came across. Edited by ALF spokesperson Steven Best and Anthony J Nocella II, it is an ambitious collection of essays and poems by people as diverse as Black Panthers Fred Hampton Jr. and Ashanti Alston, Native Youth Movement warrior Kanahus Pellkey, anti-civilization strategists Derrick Jensen and John Zerzan, guerilla warriors and political prisoners such as Ann Hansen, Jeff 'Free' Luers, Craig 'Critter' Marshall, Rob 'Los Ricos' Thaxton, Marilyn Buck, Sara Olson, and many more.

This book is truly a stick of dynamite -- or perhaps more akin to a well-placed homemade pipe bomb -- designed to ignite the aspirations of people everywhere who recognize how dire of a situation we are in, while also providing analysis of the justifications and effectiveness of radical direct action in defence of ourselves and the earth. Today, with so much at stake, and countless people all around the world resorting to extra-legal means to make larger and larger dents in the earth-destroying power structures, this book could not have come at a better time. Involving an array of voices that expands the dialogue way beyond the traditional environmental (white, middle-class, dogmatically pacifist) line of thought, this book makes revolutionary environmentalism understandable and appealing.

To quote the editors, revolutionary environmentalism "recognizes that environmentalism cannot succeed without social justice and social justice cannot be realized without environmentalism." In Davey Garland's essay, To Cast a Giant Shadow, he quotes Orin Langelle, who wrote that, "Revolutionary ecology recognizes that all forms of life are equal and practices of domination (which run the gamut from homophobia to racism to speciesism etc.) are part of a control pattern that leads to the exploitation of all forms, which includes our living, breathing, planet: Gaia. An injury to one is an injury to all."

This book is not simply a call out for direct action, but also for radically rethinking how we live on the earth. Unlike many people who benefit from (white, male, class, etc.) privilege, the contributors recognize that our need to live in such a way is tremendously contested by the forces of greed and death, and it us up to us, in this extremely small window of time available, to do something about it. Further, most of the writers attempt to honestly assess the needs and usefulness of radical direct actions today. Perhaps not coincidentally, the contributors offer prose that would give even the staunchest defender of 'business as usual' tactics a hard time offering a rebuttal worth listening to.

What gives the book credence is that it is written, as the authors say, for earth liberationists, animal liberationists, Black liberationists, Native Americans, ecofeminists, political prisoners, primitivists, saboteurs, grassroots activists, and militant academics, and as large a goal as that is, it succeeds in doing so. Igniting a Revolution finishes with a rare collection of ELF communiqués, which John Zerzan refers to as "truly inspiring alternative visions to the senile, putrefying mantras of the left. These joyous and determined messages, backed up by arsons, sabotage, strikes against animal torturers, and the like, spell out the nature of the accelerating, deepening, totalizing crisis and show us how much of 'civilization' must go." Even if you already agree with the contributors, read this book. And then give it to someone who doesn't agree, and enjoy watching them come around. Containing historical, race, class, and gender analyses of a growing movement, this book is guaranteed to offer you something refreshing, be it a new connection between ideas, a reminder of how angry and sad the destruction of the earth makes you, or the inspiration to fight however you're fighting that much harder.

Below is an explanation of the book in the words of the editors, which describes the format and function of the book, as well as their desires for it.


This anthology is divided into seven sections that explore different aspects of the ever-deepening, global social-environmental crisis. Each section begins with a poem by a renowned activist-poet relevant to its general themes, as we close the book with a poetic afterward, and provide an appendix of rarely collected ELF communiqués.

Section I provides historical, philosophical, and political overviews of revolutionary environmentalism, with a focus on deep ecology, social ecology, Earth First!, and the ELF.

Section II reflects on the pathologies of consumerism, the ideologies of mass media, and the politics of everyday life that call into question one's own complicity in the machines of destruction.

Section III dissects Christianity and orthodox religion from an ecological standpoint, and discusses the importance of spiritual connections among each other and to the Earth from numerous standpoints.

Section IV explores the "anarcho-primitivism" perspective which assails "civilization" as inherently and irredeemably rooted in domination, and thus calls for a return to primal ways of living.

Section V spotlights academics, political prisoners, Black liberationists, and animal liberationists who share personal experiences with state repression and paint a vivid picture of corporate dominated police state such as the u.s., as they also offer hope for continued struggle.

Section VI explores the justifications for sabotage tactics as a much-needed weapon in defense of the Earth, as it also discusses their limitations and advances larger visions for social change.

Section VII examines the commonalities among various oppressed groups and radical struggles, and underscores the need for a broad social/environmental movement for revolutionary change.

Our Goals

Igniting a Revolution is written by and for earth liberationists, animal liberationists, Black liberationists, Native Americans, ecofeminists, political prisoners, primitivists, saboteurs, grassroots activists, and militant academics. It reaches out to exploited workers, indigenous peoples, subsistence farmers, tribes pushed to the brink of extinction, guerilla armies, armed insurgents, disenfranchised youth, and to all others who struggle against the advancing juggernaut of global capitalism, neo-fascism, imperialism, militarism, and phony wars on terrorism that front for attacks on dissent and democracy. This book does not offer analysis or theory for its own sake, it is a political intervention to help spread resistance and change. It is not a haphazard collection of thoughts, but a strategic effort to unite radical struggles in the western world and beyond. It is not a history book, but a book to help make history.

This volume aims to promote thought, provoke anger, stir passion, emphasize commonalities, establish connections, advocate systemic thinking, and, ultimately, to galvanize militant action appropriate to the level of the destruction of the earth and its sundry inhabitants and communities. While the voices in this book speak in different ways on social, political, and environmental issues, together they recognize the insanity, injustice, and unsustainability of the current world order, as they seek profound transformation at many different levels.

Windows of opportunity are closing. The actions that human beings now collectively take or fail to take will determine whether the future is hopeful or bleak. The revolution that this planet desperately needs at this crucial juncture will involve, among other things, a movement to abolish anthropocentrism, speciesism, racism, patriarchy, homophobia, and prejudices and hierarchies of all kinds, while reconstituting social institutions in a form that promotes autonomy, self-determination of nations and peoples, decentralization and democratization of political life, non-market relations, guaranteed rights for humans and animals, an ethics of respect for nature and all life, and the harmonization of the social and natural worlds.

The Earth will survive -- indeed, it will regenerate and flourish -- without us, but we will not survive without a healthy Earth. Numerous hominid species such as Homo Neanderthalenis have perished because they could not adapt to changing conditions, and countless human civilizations have collapsed for ecological reasons. Clearly, there is no guarantee that Homo sapiens will survive in the near future, as the dystopian visions of films such as Mad Max or Waterworld may actually be realized. Nor is there is any promise that serious forms of revolutionary environmentalism can or will arise, given problems such as the factionalism and egoism that typically tears political groups apart and/or the fierce political repression always directed against resistance movements. Yet as social and ecological situations continue to deteriorate globally, the struggles for ecology and justice may grow ever more radical and intense.

Amidst so many doubts and uncertainties, there is nonetheless no question whatsoever that the quality of the future -- if humanity and other imperiled species have one at all -- depends on the strength of global resistance movements and the possibilities for revolutionary change.

May this collection of readings help blaze the trail forward and ignite this revolution. We invite you to read, reflect, resist, and revolt.

Table of Contents:

I. The History and Nature of Revolutionary Environmentalism

1. Marilyn Buck, Poems From Prison
2. Mark Somma, Revolutionary Environmentalism: An Introduction
3. Noel Molland, The Spark That Ignited a Flame: The Evolution of the Earth Liberation Front
4. Davey Garland, To Cast a Giant Shadow -- Revolutionary Ecology and its Practical Implementation Through the Earth Liberation Front
5. Mike Becker, Ontological Anarchism: The Philosophical Roots of Revolutionary Environmentalism
6. Mathew Walton and Jessica Widay, Shades of Green: Examining Cooperation Between Radical and Mainstream Environmentalists

II. Sustainability and the Politics of Consumption

7. Rosalie Little Thunder, Nituwepi he? (Who are you?)
8. Robert Jensen, What is a Morally Defensible Level of Consumption?
9. Lauren Eastwood, Contesting the Economic Order and Media Construction of Reality
10. Adam Weisman, The Revolution of Everyday Life

III. Religion and Spirituality

11. Kalamu ya Salaam, I don't want to live where they are killing me
12. Charlotte Laws, Jains, the Animal Liberation Front, and the Earth Liberation Front: At War with the "Violent Maxim"
13. Lisa Kemmerer, In the Beginning: God Created the Earth and "Eco-Terrorism"
14. Wanbli Watakpe (aka Russ Redner) and Paula Ostrovsky, Gwarth-E-Lass: Stick Standing Strong
15. Jim Mason, The Animal Question: Uncovering the Roots of our Domination of Nature and Each Other

IV. Primitivism and the Critique of Civilization

16. Levana Saxon, Death Has Already Arrived
17. Robert Thaxton (aka Rob Los Ricos), The Lies of Progress
18. Craig "Critter" Marshall, Attack the System
19. Terra Greenbrier, Against Civilization, For Reconnection to Life!
20. John Zerzan, What is Liberation?

V. Repression and Resistance

21. Fred Hampton Jr., The Troubles I've Seen
22. Jeffery "Free" Luers, From Protest to Resistance
23. Ashanti Alston, Mojo Workin'
24. Josh Harper, Facing the Agents of Omnicide: Hope in a Dark Time
25. Anthony Rayson, From the Prisonhouse to the Slaughterhouse: Reflections on Lives in Captivity
26. Kanahus Pellkey, Taking Back Our Land: Who's Going to Stop Us? The Native Youth Movement Warriors Society
27. Rik Scarce, Speak the Truth, Go to Jail
28. Sara Jane Olson, Armageddon Now!

VI. Direct Action and Beyond

29. Jesús Sepúlveda, Medusa Trilogy
30. John Wade, Radical Environmentalism: Is There Any Other Kind?
31. Derrick Jensen, What Goes Up Must Come Down
32. Leslie James Pickering, People Ain�t Feeling This Bullshit
33. Marti Kheel, Direct Action and the Heroic Ideal: An Ecofeminist Critique
34. pattrice jones, Stomping with the elephants: Feminist principles for radical solidarity

VII. Social Movements and Alliance Politics

35. Drew Dellinger, Ancestors and Angels
36. Ann Hansen, Armed Struggle, Urban Warfare, and the Social Movement Influences on "Direct Action"
37. Maxwell Schnurer, They Took Urlike Meinhof�s Brain: A Comparative Study of the Causes of and Justifications for Militant Direct Action
38. Tony LoGrande and Robert Roche, Native Americans and the Struggle for Culture and Nature
39. Kazi Toure, Random Thoughts on Eco-Racism and Resistance
40. amory starr, Grumpywarriorcool: What makes our movements white?
41. homefries, Identity Politics and Poetic Solidarity: Roots of Alliance between Feminism and Animal/Earth Liberation
42. Richard Kahn, Radical Ecology, Repressive Tolerance, and Zoocide

Afterward -- Jalil. A. Muntaqim, Katrina!!!
Epilogue: ELF Guidelines and Communiqués




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