George Monbiot on Eco-terrorism: “I back saboteurs … but I won’t blow up a pipeline”

Essay by Eric Worrall

The problem with trying to justify terrorism in support of a political position is that door swings both ways.

I back saboteurs who have acted with courage and coherence, but I won’t blow up a pipeline. Here’s why

George Monbiot
Fri 28 Apr 2023 20.00 AEST

I understand the argument that our escalating climate crisis justifies direct action, but I can’t urge anyone to do things I wouldn’t do myself

I can see why How to Blow Up a Pipeline, the book by Andreas Malm which has inspired a new film with the same title, has captured imaginations. It offers a lively and persuasive retelling of the history of popular protest, showing how violence and sabotage have been essential components of most large and successful transformations, many of which have been mischaracterised by modern campaigners as entirely peaceful.

I cannot say that Malm is wrong, and that non-violent action is more likely to succeed. After all, none of us have been here before. But if you are pushing other people towards decades in prison while risking a backlash that would close down the last possibility of success, you need to be pretty confident that the strategy will work. I have no such confidence.

My own belief is that our best hope is to precipitate a social tipping: widening the concentric circles of those committed to systemic change until a critical threshold is reached, that flips the status quo. Observational and experimental evidence suggests the threshold is roughly 25% of the population. I find it hard to see how this could happen if we simultaneously engage in violent conflict with those we seek to swing. But I concede that our chances are diminishing, regardless of strategy.

In the meantime, I will support people who have already committed coherent and targeted acts of sabotage in defence of the living planet that do not endanger human life. But I won’t encourage anyone to do so, because I’m not prepared to do it myself. This, at least, is one clear line in a world where everything is blurred.

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Monbiot is exercising his green privilege. He wants us to believe there is a moral difference between supporting terrorists and advocating terrorism.

Imagine if a climate skeptic said “I will support people who have already committed coherent and targeted attacks“. They would have the police on their doorstep before they hit the “save” button – and rightly so.

WUWT certainly doesn’t advocate or support acts of violence, sabotage or terror. But if one side throws away the rule book and starts sabotaging energy infrastructure, its only a matter of time until some hothead is tempted to retaliate.

If you are that hothead, if you are or know someone who is thinking of taking such direct action, please don’t. Get a job as an energy infrastructure security guard if you feel you have to do something.

Because the only “retaliation” required to kill the green energy industry is to cancel all their subsidies and government loan guarantees, if necessary by tearing up contracts which were agreed by previous administrations.

Monbiot’s entire precious renewable industry is a government funded chimera. Like those expensive big leafed pot plants you see in government offices, the renewable energy industry will dry up and blow away, as soon as the government stops watering it.

via Watts Up With That?

April 29, 2023 at 12:35AM

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