How to Blow Up a Pipeline

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Verso Books, Jan 5, 2021 - Political Science - 208 pages
Property will cost us the earth

The science on climate change has been clear for a very long time now. Yet despite decades of appeals, mass street protests, petition campaigns, and peaceful demonstrations, we are still facing a booming fossil fuel industry, rising seas, rising emission levels, and a rising temperature. With the stakes so high, why haven't we moved beyond peaceful protest?

In this lyrical manifesto, noted climate scholar (and saboteur of SUV tires and coal mines) Andreas Malm makes an impassioned call for the climate movement to escalate its tactics in the face of ecological collapse. We need, he argues, to force fossil fuel extraction to stop--with our actions, with our bodies, and by defusing and destroying its tools. We need, in short, to start blowing up some oil pipelines.

Offering a counter-history of how mass popular change has occurred, from the democratic revolutions overthrowing dictators to the movement against apartheid and for women's suffrage, Malm argues that the strategic acceptance of property destruction and violence has been the only route for revolutionary change. In a braided narrative that moves from the forests of Germany and the streets of London to the deserts of Iraq, Malm offers us an incisive discussion of the politics and ethics of pacifism and violence, democracy and social change, strategy and tactics, and a movement compelled by both the heart and the mind. Here is how we fight in a world on fire.
 

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Contents

Preface
1
Learning from Past Struggles
29
Breaking the Spell
65
Fighting Despair
133
Notes
163
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About the author (2021)

Andreas Malm is a scholar of human ecology, teaching at Lund University. He the author of The Progress of this Storm: Nature and Society in a Warming World and Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming, which won the Isaac and Tamara Deutscher Memorial Prize.

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