The New Yorker Asks, Should the Climate Movement Embrace Sabotage?

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The Federalist has accused The New Yorker of amplifying calls for ecoterrorism, in the wake of the recent publication of “How to Blow Up a Pipeline“, and a New Yorker podcast titled “Should the Climate Movement Embrace Sabotage?“.

New Yorker Amplifies Calls For Pipeline Bombings To Save The Planet

SEPTEMBER 27, 2021 By Jordan Davidson

The New Yorker amplified calls for eco-terrorism in the name of sparking action on climate change last week by inviting Andreas Malm, the Swedish author of “How To Blow Up A Pipeline,” onto its podcast.

In the episode titled “How to Blow Up a Pipeline,” Malm explains how it’s time for the climate change movement to “diversify its tactics and move away from an exclusive focus on polite, gentle, and perfectly peaceful civil disobedience.”

Malm stopped his recommendations short of “kidnapping oil workers” but said that “civil disobedience” ostensibly to save the planet should include mass acts of “intelligent sabotage” and property destruction, such as blowing up pipelines.

“I’m not saying we should stop strikes or square occupations or demonstrations of the usual kind. I’m all in favor of that. But I do think we need to step up because so little has changed and so many investments are still being poured into new fossil fuel projects,” Malm said. “So I am in favor of destroying machines, property — not harming people, that’s a very, very important distinction there. And I think property can be destroyed in all manner of ways, or it can be neutralized in a very gentle fashion as when we defeated the SUVs, or in a more spectacular fashion, as in potentially blowing up a pipeline that’s under construction. That’s something that people have done.”

Read more: https://thefederalist.com/2021/09/27/new-yorker-amplifies-calls-for-pipeline-bombings-to-save-the-planet/

The New Yorker podcast by David Remnick is available here.

I tried listening to the podcast. The climate portion of the podcast, the friendly interview with the author of How to Blow Up a Pipeline, starts at 17:00 minutes, with author Professor Andreas Malm boasting about how he and his friends used to roam around rich suburbs in Sweden deflating SUV tires.

Andreas credits his group’s sabotage campaign with crashing sales of SUVs in Sweden. That may be, but in my opinion he is lucky he and his friends weren’t busted causing a fatal crash. Andreas claims his technique caused a slow deflation over a few hours, like planting a small stone under the air valve cap, to gently press on the valve and cause the tyre to slowly deflate. So if the owner started driving shortly after the attack, the driver might not notice one or more of their tyres was slowly going flat.

Their technique was subtle, if there was a fatal crash, and the coroner found the small stone in the valve cap, it could have been ruled an accident. I’m sure most of us have had an unpleasant experience with a tyre suddenly failing – a very possible outcome of Andreas’ subtle SUV tyre sabotage campaign.

I mentioned the exact technique, because this is something SUV owners in climate activist areas should maybe start to watch out for. Next time you have a tyre failure, check your tyre valve.

At 22 minutes into the podcast, author Andreas Malm appears to recommend blowing up pipelines.

At 25 minutes, Andreas whines ordinary people are not engaged with the climate crisis “the people don’t rise up!”, and criticises the “dogmatic commitment to non-violence” of other climate activists.

At 27 minutes, “burning down police stations is an integral part of the uprising”.

At 30 minutes, Andreas concedes killing people, kidnapping oil CEOs and murdering them, would cause a backlash.

At 32 minutes, “A strategy which does not involve oil getting more expensive is not a strategy at all”.

At 32:48, New Yorker’s David Remnick suggests Fox News might spoil the campaign by pointing out the eco-terrorists were causing widespread fuel price misery. Andreas responds “Well, I don’t think that we should adapt our tactics after the enemy’s script”.

At 34:30, “Normal protests work best when they target fossil fuel production … peacefully breaking through police lines, shutting down gas pipelines”.

At 37 minutes, the Andreas Malm interview finally ends. The podcast then goes on to discuss sea level, but I’m afraid I stopped listening, 20 minutes of this nonsense is about as much as I can take in one sitting.

As far as I can recall, throughout the entire interview, the closest The New Yorker host David Remnick came to criticising Andreas Malm’s position, was questioning whether murder might cause a political backlash which could undermine Andreas’ climate campaign.

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September 28, 2021 at 12:36PM

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