How to Blow up a Pipeline

Paperback, 208 pages

English language

Published Jan. 25, 2020 by Verso Books.

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3 stars (7 reviews)

Why resisting climate change means combatting the fossil fuel industry

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 …

4 editions

Maybe better suited to newcomers

2 stars

My number one critique of this book is that it had so many opportunities to share and relate revolutionary movements throughout history to the climate movement, and it did not. Even worse, there were parts of the book that critiqued attacks on oil pipelines in the SWANA region that were connected to local anti-imperialist movements, without drawing the connection between anti imperialism and the climate movement (embarrassing, frankly).

That said, I think the book is a fine introduction to the idea that violence in the form of property destruction is a legitimate action to take, although I wish the book made a stronger case to the idea of armed resistance in the pursuit of national democracy and socialism. I also think the last chapter of the book was the strongest, since it offered good critiques of climate doomerism.

Anyway, I shouldn't be surprised lol, but whatever, it was fine.

Made me start believing in a positive change… again

4 stars

I went into this book being a bit negative about climate change and the climate movement worldwide. I thought we “lost” and wouldn’t be able prevent enormous damage to the planet. I saw myself in a situation similar to the ending of the movie “Don’t look up” but I don’t think of that anymore.

The book gives you a decent amount of history of the different climate movements (pacifist and not so pacifist) and compales them to other social movements and the type of violence or lack there of that they used in order to achieve their goals.

I really recommend this book a lot!

a book with all the right pieces and some very weird conclusions

2 stars

for a book i should ostensibly agree with on all points i found this deeply dull and fairly insipid. it goes to great lengths to categorize property damage as violence, dedicating only a few paragraphs around page 100 to the "ridiculous" idea that inanimate property maybe can't be subject to violence in the same way that living things can. it then uses this framework of property damage as violence to argue for the necessity of violence in protest, but jumps through incredible hoops to advocate for some sort of violence scale, from damaging luxury vehicles on one side to murder on the other, and is vehement that although the climate movement needs violence to achieve results (it argues against pacifism for almost half the book, albeit it itself is more pacifist than it knows), this can only mean - to malm- damage to fossil fuel infrastructure and luxury goods. it …

should be titled "Why Blow Up a Pipeline"

4 stars

This is a nice book. The author gives the rundown of climate movements of the past few years, focusing on Ende Gelände, Extinction Rebellion, and Fridays for Future. He's clearly actually been part of a lot of those actions and, as far as I can tell, he gets them pretty right. The tone is hopeful all in all and the central idea – that there should be a more militant flank focused on destruction of fossil fuel emitting devices like SUVs and pipelines – is made well, in particular the clear but charitable case against ideologues of pacifism in activism.

However, and this bugs me deeply, the author does not actually answer the question posed in the title. Nowhere in the book is there any kind of guideline of tactical advice or even finger-point to resources on how to go about this. There is no map of pipelines in Europe, …

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4 stars