How to Blow Up a Pipeline by Andreas Malm [7/10]

Andreas Malm lectures in human ecology and is a climate activist, with a few books under his belt. “How to Blow Up a Pipeline: Learning to Fight in a World on Fire” is his eloquent polemic in favor of taking the step from nonviolent direct action, as practised by me and other Extinction Rebellion members, to some forms of violence. This is a hugely important topic, or at least it is for those keening to bring humanity into line with emissions halts. Malm’s carefully unfurled argument points out that NVDA, and all the other forms of peaceful protest, have barely shifted human behavior. His argument is that the arguments in favor of nonviolence are not only unsupported by history but are inadequate in the face of the damage being done to the world and our future generations. He is occasionally savage about XR, though, to be fair, he also extols some of its activities. He shies away from violence to other people but argues for a “radical flank” alongside the mass nonviolent movement, a flank that, for example, blows up the pipelines of the book’s title. Malm writes well and How to Blow Up a Pipeline makes for sobering reading. If you’re wondering what on earth to do about global warming, this book might provide fodder for thinking, regardless of which way your mind and heart go. As a lifelong pacifist, nonviolence sits comfortably on my shoulders, but I’m pleased to have read a bracing, up-to-the-minute critique.

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