Submitted by lettuceLeafer in CritiqueThis

Pro environment action is when you light a factory on fire committing some of the worst actions of pollution possible so a different company builds a factory elsewhere. Making no provable positive effect, outside long winded theoretical diatribes about economic theory that is extremely arguable. Why actually make environmentally positive actions when you could commit acts of environmental acceleration? Because environmental sabotage provably causes ridiculous amounts of pollution and most cases cannot prove any positive effect. So it would be inaccurate to call it anything other than acceleration ism.

Its almost like trying to control supply artificially almost never ever works. But why have historical precedent of ineffectiveness or no poof that your methods work stop you from becoming one of the worst individual polluters on the face of planet earth masked as living sustainably.

I do find it weird for anarchists to be the ones who think trying to force people to do what u want works. Don't get me wrong, I don't think sabotores are bad people or that I am morally against the idea. Tho take the drug war for instance. The US government has basically unlimited resources and is far far more powerful than me. And their sabotage efforts have had literally no effect on my drug use. And I have far far less resources than the US government. I mean there is an argument to be made that the drug war increased people's drug use by making the now criminals more anxious and cope with drugs and making drugs cool since they are anti authoritarian.

So I find it weird that an incredibly powerful organization can't even really curb drug use by far weaker opponents. So I would think sabotage done by far weaker oponents against way stronger opponents would be less effective than the drug war. This is especially important bc sabotage is an action where people put their lives on the line so I would think u would want to be sure that it overall helped. But it's hard af to predict.

Let's say for example a coal plant that burns coal to make energy to mine Bitcoin and run a factory to make bomber planes. Something the world would be far better off without. One prediction could be the coal plant gets destroyed but even if they rebuild the days it was gone they weren't polluting for X amount of days so overall it was a gain.

But I think it could almost be a better prediction that pollution would be far worse. The US Millitary views it's production lines as incredibly essential and will pay lots of money to make production secure. They view that if they need it they should overproduce and hoard as a shortage causes soldiers to die and worst of all they won't be able to do imperialism as good.

So after the sabotage they realize "oh our production is more unstable so we will have to increase production for the same level of output". So they build 3 coal power plants and triple the output of the old factory. So that if even 2 plants were destroyed they have enough and in case of all 3 being destroyed they built up a surplus.

Idk, I just think sabotage doesn't make much sense bc I like u am an anarchist when told what to do by the government and threatened with punishment I still do what I want but just spend effort to just do what I want and not let the government prevent my behavior. I don't see why this logic wouldn't apply to corporations. Anarchists are way less threatening than the feds and bussinesses have way more ability to ignore anarchist attacks. So I think this anarchist logic would be even more present for corporations.

So I think it's nearly impossible to predict the outcome so sabotage doesn't make sense from a individual perspective. In like a ML guerilla campaign I think there could be an argument bc it weakens the enemy temporarily and will allow a eco friendly ML state to then stop pollution.But I think from a anarchists perspective where individual actions don't have nearly that large of scope I can't see a way where u could exact enough control to have a probable positive effect.

Seems especially silly when direct action can be done that u could prove works such as tree plantjng or creating a healthy microclimate. Or as a larger operation to smash supply by curbing demand. Done so by making people living with less electricity more desirable for people than using electricity or provide a better alternative to using cars by enabling people to quite working on a massive scale to stop commuting.Which is sure far harder but if predictions are wrong the effect is nothing rather than negative.

Idk, I guess my argument is mostly that if I pretend to be an oil billionaire or whatever making fuck tons of money polluting an some sabotours start destroying my stuff I think polluting less and making less money would be one of my reactions tho not the only reaction I would have or reaction I would most likely to do.

I have been struggling to fully explain my position so maybe I can use this as a jumping off point to start a dialogue and maybe I can explain my position better and people can tell me where my logic is bad.

/u/SnowCode U asked me about my views on sabotage a while back and my answer took forever to write and I never quite wrote a good enough answer. Hopefully this will give u a decent idea.



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subrosa wrote

The demand for probable/proveable positive effects presupposes an unmentioned criterion for success, perhaps for 'true' environmentalism.

I'm not sure that sabotage driven by environmental concerns must go beyond being a real nuissance to those who wish to exploit people and destroy ecosystems in peace. Solidarity means attack kind of logic, rather than "accelerationism". In other words, the desired effect may just be a burning school factory, and the images, conversations, conflicts it will produce. Perhaps worth considering it an attack on appearances of control, permanence, indestructability, social harmony and peace.


lettuceLeafer OP wrote

I think I personally would have many issues with that kinda actions for those kinds reasons but under that mindset it makes sense for most anarchists. And the whole point is me saying that sabotage doesn't really actually stop factories or whatever from causing issues so we are in agreement.


subrosa wrote

Fair. I like critiques that address a broad range of possibilities and trouble multiple lines of reasoning. You narrow it down quite a bit, which in this case doesn't do much for me. I've been wrestling with possible reactions to my mischievous activities, so I'd be interested in ideas on how to integrate your (for lack of a better term) calculations into our ethics, or ideas on how to make factory-burning line up with larger projects and intentions.


veuzi wrote (edited )

Sure. But have you considered that fucking up the shit of polluters and ecosystem destroyers feels real fucking good? Some might even find such actions inspiring, even if it doesn't accomplish anything in the long run. And on the other hand you could honestly say the same about less combative forms of direct action. That it doesn't accomplish much on a larger scale but it does inspire and even help on a smaller scale, and it feels good to do.

That's about what I could add to this discussion (which is not new at all, by the way), but I'll note that we all have our feelings and limits on what we'd like to accomplish with our actions and what risks we are willing to take. I see it best to respect that. If you're gonna sabotage shit (and that's a generic "you"), good luck and don't get caught.


lettuceLeafer OP wrote

See that actually makes logical sense and I would be far less opposed if the main naritive regarding sabotage is that it's fun and changes hearts n minds.

Now obviously I become nauseated as doing something for such a reason but it makes sense for many anarchists to do. And that's my premise that sabotage directly doesn't solve the problem so we r in agreement.


stckyfngr wrote

It needs to be taken into account that at some point, it won't be a question of IF sabotage should take place, but it will a question of HOW sabotage should take place. How to get rid of the buildings, machinery, AND people responsible for the current and coming damage.

There is no guarantee that anything done to mitigate climate disaster, including direct action, will be successful. This type of action would probably be considered a last resort, something people may think about when everything around them is already on fire.

Whos to say that if enough people (the right people) find themselves in this situation together, they couldnt think of sabotage methods that also mitigate side effects? Even further, would anyone even care about possible side effects of sabotage if climate destruction was impending and inevitable, literally happening in front of their eyes?

I dont see how anarchists are trying to force anyone to do anything. It's simple, when people are backed into a corner, some choose to fight.

You can go green and toss all the seed bombs you want, its not going to stop capitalism, especially when the whole world around you is in fire.

I look forward to any response you may have.


lettuceLeafer OP wrote

Yeah I get why people emotionally do sabotage and I'm not going to chastise them for doing it. I mean I almost certainly would be arround people who like sabotage than people who like the dangerous industries existing.

Tbh I view climate catastrophy kinda like war. A thing that's gonna happen bc zi don't really have much of avenue about it so I focus more on adapting and living anarchistically the best way I can despite the massive issue.

I think I personally do nothing that will stop a climate catastrophy. Tho if I was given the option in like 50 years when the planet is getting more dangerous due to greenhouse gasses I would bet my life would be more manageable if I got her opportunity to hang around some people who spend their time trying to adapt their local environment to have a more temperature stable microclimate and ecosystem which can handle the changes of climate change better than hanging around people who spent their time getting good at sabotage and destroyed a ton of factories.

I don't think one group is better or worse than the other. Tho I think spending one's time learning how to adapt to a life in the future with climate change would be far more beneficial than trying to reduce others emissions.


Epicalyx wrote

I struggle to read your posts, but just some thoughts which will hopefully add:

There are many ways to do environmental sabotage. Those againse Shell during the anti-apartheid struggle in the Fire at Midnight zine stickied in f/Attack is one interesting example. The SHAC model has shown a lot of interesting potential.

Decentralised attack means knowing the ones you are in affinity with around the world are there and ready, growing and preparing for whatever can be done together, even if we never meet.


lettuceLeafer OP wrote

I mean I'm not arguing that an attack can't destroy a company but I'm saying it's unlikely to effect the industry. The actavist in the case of the SHAC model the actavist day they are trying to help animals when in reality they do nothing provable to help animals. The industry of animal testing hasn't been harmed in any material way.

Sure one company is gone but the competitors just used it to make more money by increasing the animals they test on. I mean look at the major firms that would be in competition. As the SHAC model was taking place they still continue to make even more profits.

I feel like the SHAC model is just the logic of the US justice system made anarchist. Instead of fundementwlky attacking the cause of the thing u dislike it punishes a small percentage of offenders. And as expected punishing offenders doesn't curb the demand or supply in any meaningful way so the Anarcho judges just increase the punishment which still does nothing.

All this time and effort and tearing a whole entire company and there is no evidence that the other animal testing companies reduced animal suffering at all.

I feel like this argument is trying to convince to me that the SHAC model reduces animal suffering bc it shut down a company when my argument is that shutting down companies doesn't prevent others from quickly filling the demand. Which is exactly what happened. I can't help but feel like the SHAC model proves me exactly right. Even what sabotores consider a massive win objectively speaking was a massive failure in helping animals.