New York Times touts book titled: ‘How to Blow Up A Pipeline’ as a ‘new way to think’ – Book argues that ‘strategic acceptance of property destruction & violence has been the only route for revolutionary change’

Three Books Offer New Ways to Think About Environmental Disaster


By Andreas Malm
200 pp. Verso. Paper, $19.95.

In September 2019, millions of people around the world participated in nonviolent demonstrations demanding action on climate change. Over and over again, politicians and business leaders have said that we face an existential threat. And yet, from 2017 to 2019 investments in new fossil fuel infrastructure projects have grown. To become profitable (and then some), these new projects will pump more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere for decades.

Meanwhile, the polar icecaps melt, sea levels rise, hundreds of thousands of species may go extinct, fires rage, hurricanes boil, people continue to suffer and die.

“To say that the signals have fallen on the deaf ears of the ruling classes of this world would be an understatement. If these classes ever had any senses, they have lost them all,” writes Malm, a Swedish professor of human ecology and climate change activist, in his compelling but frustrating treatise.

A proportionate and rational response, Malm argues, should be to target fossil fuel infrastructure: Destroy fences around a power plant; occupy pipeline routes, as protesters did for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines; at coal mines or similar sites, set up climate camps, which Malm believes are effective as laboratories for activism and for shutting things down by putting bodies on the line.

He also advocates powerfully against despair and powerlessness. One of the most satisfying parts of his book comes when he brutally dispatches with “climate fatalists” like Jonathan Franzen, who argue that we should all just give up. “Climate fatalism is for those on top,” Malm writes. “Its sole contribution is spoilage.”

So Malm wants us to fight back (though I should add that there aren’t any actual instructions here about how to blow anything up).

He argues that there should be room for tactics other than strict nonviolence and peaceful demonstrations — indeed, he is a bit contemptuous of those who offer strategic pacifism as a solution — and notes that fetishizing nonviolence in past protest movements sanitizes history, removing agency from the people who fought, sometimes violently, for justice, freedom and equality.

Sure. But the problem with violence, even if it’s meant only to destroy “fossil capital,” is that ultimately it’s impossible to control.


Tatiana Schlossberg is the author of “Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You Have.”


Related Links: 

New York Times Reviews Book Advocating Blowing Up Pipelines to Combat Climate Change – Excerpt: Schlossberg calls it “a compelling but frustrating treatise.” She says, “one of the most satisfying parts of his book comes when he brutally dispatches with ‘climate fatalists.’” (Perhaps when reviewing a book that endorses blowing stuff up, the words “brutally” and “dispatches” should be avoided.) She loves how Malm writes that “climate fatalism is for those on top.” But here’s the poster girl for white privilege, a roving global correspondent born “on top,” promoting violence against energy companies, which provide jobs to Americans in flyover states much less privileged than she is.

NY Times Keeps Reporter On Energy Beat Despite Tweet Linking Industry to ‘White Supremacy’

Energy and Race: The Media’s New Intersectionality – ‘Before Trump, Republicans were losing the energy war by not fighting it’ – Rupert Darwall: Before Trump, Republicans were losing the energy war by not fighting it. “Our security, our prosperity, and our environment all require reducing our dependence on oil,” President George W. Bush declared in January 2008. The transition from the Bush to the Obama presidency was well-nigh seamless in this regard. “We have known for decades that our survival depends on finding new sources of energy,” President Obama said in his first address to Congress.

NYT climate reporter: ‘I’ve been thinking a lot about fossil fuels and white supremacy recently’ – At the beginning of this month, the reporter, Hiroko Tabuchi, tweeted: “I’ve been thinking a lot about fossil fuels and white supremacy recently. Almost every single oil executive, lobbyist, spokesperson I’ve dealt with is white and male. It’s difficult not to see the link.”

Lund University academic: ‘To Halt Climate Change, We Need an Ecological Leninism’ – ‘State power should definitely be used’ to ban SUVs & private jets

The Socialists’ Plan for ‘Ecological Leninism’