Why Deep Green Resistance is Not Coming to The Flying Brick Library

About a month ago, a group called Deep Green Resistance asked to come speak at the Flying Brick. We ultimately decided not to host them, and since it is rare that we turn down events or touring groups, we thought that we owed an explanation to our volunteers, friends, and comrades.

Deep Green Resistance describes themselves as a group whose goal “is to deprive the rich of their ability to steal from the poor and the powerful of their ability to destroy the planet. This will require defending and rebuilding just and sustainable human communities nestled inside repaired and restored landbases. This is a vast undertaking but it needs to be said: it can be done. Industrial civilization can be stopped” (from the “About” section on deepgreenresistance.org).

Based on this description, many of us were extremely excited, as it tied into our interests, passions, and our work regarding environmental and anti-civilization projects.

However, after we sent the request out over the list-serve for feedback and approval, we were surprised and dismayed by the reaction. There were several responses that brought up issues of transphobia, transmisogyny, classism, and racism within the organization– specifically, this following passage, part of an email written by Lierre Keith, co-author of the DGR book:

        “Try this on. I am a rich person stuck in a poor person’s body. I’ve always enjoyed champagne rather than beer, and always knew I belonged in first class not economy, and it just feels right when people wait on me. My insurance company should give me a million dollars to cure my Economic Dysphoria.

Or how about this. I am really Native American. How do I know? I’ve always felt a special connection to animals, and started building tee pees in the backyard as soon as I was old enough. I insisted on wearing moccasins to school even though the other kids made fun of me and my parents punished me for it. I read everything I could on native people, started going to pow wows and sweat lodges as soon as I was old enough, and I knew that was the real me. And if you bio-Indians don’t accept us trans-Indians, then you are just as genocidal and oppressive as the Europeans.

Gender is no different. It is a class condition created by a brutal arrangement of power. I can’t fathom how mutilating people’s bodies to fit an oppressive power arrangement is frankly anything but a human rights violation. And men insisting that they are women is insulting and absurd.”

     When we responded to DGR, we made it clear that we were willing to host them as a group – as long as they were willing to discuss these issues and how environmental and anti-civ work are intrinsic to resisting gender oppression – and vice versa.

Sadly, Deep Green Resistance made it clear that they are not willing to let anybody but themselves guide the conversation, and that as we insisted on such, that we are not ready to fight the (so-called) “real fight”.

We find it necessary, in return, to make something perfectly clear:

The Flying Brick Library is intended as a safe space. Transphobia and transmisogyny are not welcome in this space any more than racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, sizeism, or other oppressive or hierarchical viewpoints.

As such, we reserve the right to choose whether to host – or not to host – any group, person, band, etc. at our own discretion.

This is a space for building knowledge.

This is a space for building support.

This is a space for building alliances across issues.

This is not a space for people to come proselytize to others without welcoming input, constructive criticism, or differing opinions.

And this is not a space where people can refuse to accept that our struggles are all connected.

     If you are unwilling to adhere to these guidelines, then take your oppressive and destructive beliefs elsewhere – because they are not welcome here.

~ by flyingbrickrva on July 9, 2012.

22 Responses to “Why Deep Green Resistance is Not Coming to The Flying Brick Library”

  1. nice :)

  2. Dear Flying Brick,

    Thank you guys SO MUCH for standing up to them. Serious fucking koodos to the Richmond radical community because- no one, as far as I can tell, in the Northeast is doing that.

    On a related note, Deep ecology is inherently kind of racist. When they talk about an irredeemably flawed, blindly consuming “humanity” and an inherently destructive “civilization”, you’re not meant to conjure the image of a black woman in an African village. You’re meant to conjure the image of, you know, that eyeless white man devouring birds and shit on the poster of “End-Civ”. Apparently nothing qualifies as “civilization” except industrial & post-industrial capitalism. The oppressed throughout time are either passive “consumers” or pure-of-heart, untainted (i.e. highly romanticized) so-called “primitive” peoples. In their fantasy revolution you are supposed to imagine crumbling high-rises condos, not bands of armed middle-class white kids marching recalcitrant inner city black communities out into the woods to “reconnect with nature”.

    Deep ecology progenitors in Europe & Australia in the 70s & 80′s were in fact overtly racist, and praised famine in the global south as “nature restoring balance” .

    So trasphobia sits in there very comfortably because, according to this nature-fundamentalism, trans-people are “unnatural” and exploiting the excesses of “civilization” to “mutilate” their bodies. No one questions what “nature” is and who gets to dictate what “her” will.

    Instead of Deep Green Sludge, me and Owen would be overjoyed to come give a presentation on how nature philosophies influence social and political philosophies.

    Luv you guys!!!

    Eleanor

  3. I too was shocked and saddened to learn that some of the people whose ecological analysis I respected had such abysmal queer politics. There are some pretty nasty strains of transphobic ‘feminism’ out there as well.

  4. good for you!

  5. Thank you.

  6. Thank you for standing up for the oppressed in general and for my kind (trans* folk) in this particular instance. It breaks my heart how many out there still bear such vicious animosity toward us even among “progressive” organizations.

  7. I could not see this without a twinge of sorrow and more than a modicum of frustration. To be clear, we decided not to speak at the Flying Brick. We made this decision because individuals were more interested in setting the terms of a presentation than listening to what we had to say and engaging with the material we brought to the table. This was a tour that was organized for the sake of presenting specific information about the fight against environmental destruction. With environmentalism, as with any other discussion about the damage inherent to civilization, patriarchy must be a part of the analysis. It just so happens that our particular analysis identifies radical feminism as a necessary lens. So why, on a speaking tour we organized, would we possibly want to talk about “how radical feminism is inherently oppressive” (a quote from an email attempting to tell us what we were to discuss at the talk). Would you tell a group speaking on a tour about supporting political prisoners that, instead of putting on the presentation they had prepared, they must talk about how prisoner support is a detriment to the movement?

    We did not decide to skip this talk because we had some desire to “proselytize to others without welcoming input, constructive criticism, or differing opinions”. We don’t seek to avoid ideological discussions or airing of disagreements when that is done respectfully. This, frankly, was neither respectful nor was it meant to be productive. Another stop on the tour requested that we meet before hand to have a discussion so as not to bring potentially divisive topics into the space during the presentation. This is respectful. Attempting to set the terms of a presentation put together by folks visiting on a tour is not. You don’t have to agree with us, but you can engage respectfully.

  8. wow Xander, thanks for completely misquoting our email discussion, and implying that we were some how not polite and friendly from the very beginning of our interaction. If anyone would like to read the email exchange, I have it still, but I assure you I never said “radical feminism is inherently oppressive”. That is Xander’s own interpretation.

    Just to clarify, this is Nathan from the Brick, and I was the one who actually wrote the emails, with input from many of our volunteers, organizers, and friends. I have to comment under this user name, but I’m not speaking for the rest of the Brick here. However, this explanation was drafted in a meeting and very our listserv, written by one of our organizers and approved by volunteers.

    • it would be helpful if the entire email discussion was made available. DGR clearly obfuscate and obscure the links they have w/ transphobic radical feminist politics (which is not to say radfem is inherently oppresive, just that transphobic radfem is). They won’t discuss the issue publicly. And while DGR doesn’t explicitly admit that it’s a transphobic organization all one has to do is scratch the surface of their radical feminist politics to find the underlying transphobic bigotry.

      Unfortunately people clearly don’t understand that the radfem analysis of DGR is transphobic. For example Robb of DGR Philly joined w/out knowing of Lierre’s transphobic politics, and ykw below doesn’t seem to know of the link between DGR, radfem, and bigotry. For those with any doubt read: http://deepgreenresistance.org/faq/dgr-a-feminist-organization/ which cites and suggests the deeply transphobic writings of Sheila Jeffreys and deploys the same radfem analysis that is used to attack trans* and gender-variant peoples.

      any further information on this issue, particularly with regard to what DGR has to say for themselves, would be illuminating. and thank you for not opening your space to hate mongers.

  9. DGR – I still haven’t heard any actual responses about the transphobic and transmysogynist things the people in your organization have said.

    And “Radical Feminism” sounds great on paper, but I think we both know that the group being referred to is the RadFem folks in particular. NOT feminists who have a radical analysis. But these people:

    http://radicalhub.com/2012/06/09/trans-activism-supported-by-patriarchy-because-transgenderism-supports-patriarchy/

    http://cherryblossomlife.com/2011/03/26/trans-activism-is-diametrically-opposed-to-feminism/

    http://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/julia-serrano-the-womens-liberation-movement-is-incompatible-with-transgenderism/

    So. There’s that.

  10. I’m sorry, what do these links have to do with Lierre Keith or DGR? I can’t tell that there is any kind of direct link between them. This seems like a rather disingenuous way to win an internet argument.

  11. They are “RadFem” sites. So they are a particular strand of feminism that still clings to the old analysis that Men dominate Women and that’s that. completely ignoring people that do not fall into either of those categories, or switch between them. Not only that, they go on to insist that trans issues aren’t “real” or even antithetical to the feminist cause. These are positions Lierre Keith supports.

  12. Glad to hear y’all are still going strong.

    Those Deep Greenies are largely devotees of Derrick Jensen, aren’t they? He’s a very dictatorial guy.

    For myself, I believe in anti-civ as a personal choice and not as a movement. I don’t like movements. And I like anti-Man-made-World as a better name (until a shorter one can be found) because the Man-made World has been evolving for hundreds of thousands of years, I believe, whilst civilization’s only been going for ten thousand. These anti-civ people like ‘civilization’ because it’s got lots of books for them to read and talk about. They’re very book and library and theory and academia focused.

    I hope you guys got the copies of “Modern Slavery” and “Uncivilized” I sent you. I sent them to your S. Pine St. address. I didn’t realize you had a PO Box. I had been sending stuff to the Libertalia Infoshop in Providence but I like the name of your library better.

    I’ll have to stop by and visit y’all some day, if I ever get to Richmond.

    I’ve been to Richmond a few times, but only to the bus station across from the stadium. Just passing through, ya know?

    Hope your gardens are growing well. Have a good one.

  13. this is so internet you guise

  14. belated thumbs up to the flying brick. thank you!

  15. […] Rachel Ivey, the 23-year old activist who gives the newly released Deep Green Resistance presentation on gender, acknowledges that their position is controversial. It’s their only perspective that has caused them to be banned from speaking at events she states. Deep Green Resistance factions have defected over it. She also explains that “there is no debate” acceptable within the organization about their policy on gender. Further evidence of DGR’s unwillingness to engage in dialogue or conversation about gender comes from an incident where they were banned from the Flying Brick Library. They state, […]

  16. The decolonizing yoga piece has been discredited. There are multiple inaccuracies, errors and omissions.

  17. such as??….seems pretty telling that one of their own founders has left the group over Lierre Keith and Derrick Jensen’s authoritarian tendencies, especially regarding transphobia….

  18. Aric McBay’s (co-founder of DGR) statement regarding his ending his involvement in DGR.

    http://www.aricmcbay.org/2013/05/14/dgr-and-transphobia/

  19. It is a large pitty to see this. This kind of fight is divisive and stupid. I love the Mother Goddess , the Earth and Asushunamir just as much as any other feminist women :) Well , maybe they’re not familiar with Asushunamir. It’s a pitty.
    But.. my community (transsexual women) faces continual persecution from the wider cisgender world. We loose people. They die, they’re murdered, or they commit suicide. I seriously doubt Lierre Keith has been through what I’ve seen in my life. (The ‘attempted’ suicide rate is about 30%). I could forgive “radical” feminists being wrongheaded about trans people 30 years ago. Gender clinics were an institution of the patriarchy, and we had little choice but to deal with them to get any kind of medical help (essentially trans activists have worked tirelessly to get rid of patriarchial psychiatric interference in our lives). But, it’s 2013, not 1970. The information about our community is out there. Trans hating is only really one thing to me. Reinforcement and a demand for cisgender bionatal privilage over gender variants.
    I guess, here’s the thing. They’res a war on for my community’s freedom and our very lives. We’re not going to give up. You can debate whether you want your salad with or without a burger, but essentially, we’re in a fundamental fight for our lives and basic human liberty, and let me assure you, once you’ve taken estrogen and are now female, practically, there is little way back (not that I’d want to, I’m a girl, and I know that). We’ve lost people. A LOT of people. We loose more every day. But still we carry on, We largely forced the APA to cease the worst form of gender-clinic oppression. We (thankfully) have allies these days because of the sacrifices of good activists and the last generation. I personally though this kind of nonsense died out in the 70′s. It’s wrongheaded and gets them basically nowhere.
    We will win this fight. You are not fighting for your lives, fundamental right to exist and freedom. Trans rights are at best auxiliary to you. We are fighting for our right to live, exist, and enjoy the same freedom cisgender people do. It’s a fundamental fight for our lives. We will not give up. We cannot. It is not an option. While it bothers me to fight “feminists” and greens, I know basically the majority of the contemporary feminist community supports our position, and our community’s experiences.

  20. […] Deep Green Resistance is seen by many other environmental radicals, anarchists, and other fellow travelers as fringe extremists.  As a result of this firestorm of controversy several DGR members resigned […]

  21. Let’s be real, your complacency in transphobia kills trans people. Women certainly have committed violence against trans people. Cis is very real. You radscum can’t let this go can you?

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