Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defense of the Earth edited by Steven Best and Anthony J. Nocella

“Fighting corporate ecocide by any means necessary short of physical violence.”

Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defense of the Earth edited by Steven Best and Anthony J. Nocella, II is a hefty collection of essays examining the “emergence and intensification of ‘radical’ or ‘revolutionary’ environmentalism.” While the book’s foreword is quick to stress that the “essays do not represent the whole spectrum of opinion in the environmental movement” the topics covered here certainly examine the current most dynamic and controversial ideas. “Profound dissatisfaction with mainstream environmentalism” has led to a paradigm shift within the movement. Radical direct action tactics–ranging from civil disobedience to cybertage, hacktivism and acts of sabotage–are occurring on a daily basis across the planet. Exactly how this state of affairs occurred, and why growing numbers of people see traditional environmentalism as a failure is one of the many subjects covered in the book.

Included here is a great analysis of the birth and growth of the environmental movement, the significance of Earth First! and Greenpeace, the break-away and significant incidents within the movement–along with the formation of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). In 1995, ELF was virtually unheard of in North America, but by 2005, the FBI identified ELF as “America’s greatest domestic terrorist threat.” Meanwhile, whopping sentences are handed down for those sentenced for acts of sabotage–Jeff Luers received a 22-year sentence for torching 3 SUVs. According to the FBI, these acts of sabotage are acts of Ecoterrorism, but according to ELF operatives, the acts–conducted against a global environmental crisis–are acts of “corporate ecocide.”

Due to the wide spread of issues covered here, some essays will undoubtedly appeal or seem more relevant than others. Topics include: Murray Bookchin’s Social Ecology, Deep Ecology, Eco-Racism, Eco-feminism, Freeganism, and Primitivism. Of particular value is “Revolutionary Environmentalism” by Mark Somma–an essay stressing that a “new social movement” and a “positive vision of a new society” are necessary components of any revolutionary change. Somma analyzes shallow vs. deep ecology and includes the Platform Principles of the Deep Ecology Movement. The essay outlines the components of radical environmentalism–and argues that a moral reevaluation and an ecological education must occur before a fundamental political and economic change can take place. In the essay “What is a Morally Defensible Level of Consumption?” author Robert Jensen asks some tough, direct, and highly relevant questions. Adam Weissman’s essay “The Revolution is Everyday Life” argues that eco-sabotage is an “incomplete model of resistance,” and that “new approaches to living” that are outside of the seductive capitalist model must be explored.

And on another note, there’s the essay “They Took Ulrike Meinhof’s Brain.” Apparently, after her death, the West German government removed Meinhof’s brain for testing with the absurd goal of discovering the “biological causes of her ‘deviant’ behavior.” How sick can you get?

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