DGR members don’t usually respond to the lies, distortions, and horizontal hostility that others occupy their time with. Frankly, we’re busy, and if we spent as much time debunking outrageous claims about us as others waste making those claims, it would take too much time away from the work of organizing against the systems destroying the planet. However, this horizontal hostility has lately become even more ridiculous and extreme than usual. A lot of people feel entitled to speak FOR DGR members, particularly women in DGR who support radical feminism, and almost no one ever actually asks or listens to us. After this letter came out, which contained a list of organizations that would rather waste time on unsubstantiated claims than get work done, we decided that we are done with allowing other groups to silence us by speaking for us. We put out a call for responses from DGR members and supporters, particularly women in DGR.
Take it or leave it, but stop speaking for us, start listening when we speak, and for the love of Earth, get your priorities straight. While the world burns, you’re trying to make sure women never question gender? We welcome respectful disagreement and discussion, but this level of willful slander and distortion of our policies and politics is an embarrassment to the groups and individuals that insist on engaging in it day, after day, after day. How much precious time have you all wasted to date? 200 species went extinct today. Get to work, let us do the same, and please, just this once – actually read our words instead of shamelessly making things up.
Some of these letters will be anonymous, because women who speak out against gender know that the reward for their courage will be intimidation, threats, stalking, and the like.
Are you a DGR member or supporter of radical feminism? We want to hear from you on this issue! How has the blacklisting of gender-critical thought affected you? Why is radical feminism important to you? Email letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click below to read the letters:
1. Radical feminism has given me the ability to articulate my own experiences in my life. I am not my gender, but a human being, an animal, one that is a part of this planet. This is the same for all other humans. Gender limits me and oppresses. I see it all around me thanks to the acceptance of it in our society.
There may be those that identify with gender, but I am not stopping anyone from identifying however they want. I personally believe gender separates us from the natural world and who we truly are, and if you disagree with this that is fine. But I am allowed to have my own personal thoughts on the matter and you will not take that away from those of us who feel the oppression very deeply because they are part of the class known as women. Lierre Keith or DGR have not made any threats or physical assaults on any transgendered people. Stop treating the organization as if that is the case! DGR believes in civil rights for everyone and that includes transgender people. I would argue that this is not the case the other way around when what I am seeing are misogynist slurs, threats, and general abusive behavior to silence those that do not have the same analysis on gender.
The really depressing part about this whole thing is you are silencing a voice of a woman who cares deeply for the planet. We obviously have not been successful whatsoever in saving our beloved planet and everything on it but you have shown you are willing to allow slander and difference in analysis be enough reason to waste my time and your own when we have the collapse of the ecosystem to worry about. This makes no sense strategically to fight over ideologies when the material reality is we are all looking over the cliff of a dying planet.
2. The most recent article in the EF! News Wire about the alleged ‘transphobia’ of DGR is, as usual full of lies and distortions. As is the letter which many big organizations such as Greenpeace and Rising Tide saw fit to sign without checking if any of the accusations were true.
Firstly it was the women of DGR who decided to keep female only spaces for females only NOT Lierre Keith. Please stop speaking for us and silencing our voices. This is one of the reasons that I and many of the other women are part of the organization because it is a radical feminist space.
Secondly Lierre and Derrick had already left DGR when Premadasi Amada was asked to leave. It was the staff team who rebelled against her and would not work under her and asked for Lierre and Derrick to come back. Aric left soon after that and he made sure to steal ten thousand dollars of DGR money on his way out. Please check your facts before you print lies.
We have attacked no-one threatened no one, assaulted no-one. On the contrary we have been attacked threatened and some of our members have been assaulted for disagreeing on the definition of gender. That’s it. We have a political disagreement. Why is this such a big deal. Could it be because it is women who have drawn a boundary?
I may not agree with the trans community’s perspectives of gender but I would defend their right to make speeches, about that or any other topic. I would not dream of picketing any of their events much less sending anybody abusive threatening emails or Facebook messages, or telling them who they should or should not allow into their groups or safe spaces. Why do they not accord me and my comrades the same courtesy?
It’s absurd to claim that disagreeing with someone is the same as denying their existence. That would mean that I deny the existence of more people than I can count. And why does it not work the other way around? They disagree with me so does that mean they are trying to exterminate me or denying my existence? Of course not, we just disagree.
DGR has remained mostly silent because we are busy getting on with our work. When we have engaged it has been to defend ourselves from lies and bullying. This article is a perfect example of the former. Not once has anyone from your publication asked the women of DGR what we think about all of this. They think that we must blindly follow what is dictated to us, which is nonsense.
We are part of this organization because we share the same politics and concerns. We believe in structure, organization and yes, gasp, leadership. We do not apologize for any of this. We know our organization is not a good fit for everyone and we encourage people to start their own groups. We will not try and interfere with how they choose to identify,
organize or structure themselves.
Please stop silencing the women of DGR, stop silencing me, stop printing lies and get on with some real work.
3. To whom it may concern:
This is an open letter to anyone who has, is, or has considered attacking radical feminists …
I am appalled and deeply saddened by what I have been reading all over the internet lately about women female bodied – first, before I proceed, I need to clarify what a “woman” is: Throughout time, people who have the capacity to carry and grow children in our bodies, those who have wombs, those who are xx chromosomed, have been attacked, raped, tortured and killed, enslaved, sold and controlled by those who don’t, simply because of who we are. This is a historical, irrefutable fact, and is the basis for radical feminism as I understand it. Throughout time, female people have been called “women”, or wombed ones. I wish our language didn’t refer to people in this way at all. I wish there was one pronoun for people, but there isn’t, and historically, this is how language has worked, so when I say “women”, I am using the historical definition of the word.
Women are life givers by nature. This is where the term “Mother Earth” comes from: Earth gives us all life, and we all came to be because of our mothers. Mother Earth is being systematically stripped of her ability to give life, to nurture us.
We women have fought hard and long for the rights and freedoms that we have, that everyone should have. Personally, because of my physical makeup, because I have a body that has the capability of carrying children, I have endured unwanted sexual advances, attacks and invasions of my female body by male-bodied people (people with penises) since the age of five. I have had to constantly think about being attacked, how to fend off attacks and unwanted advances my whole life. Because of this history, I am uncomfortable around men, unless I know them well. I know you don’t know me and may or may not care about my history, but my point is this: I am sick and tired of fighting male-bodied people who think they can invade my sacred space, who think they can attack my female friends because females want their own space, safe from attack, unwanted stares, or whatever. This is the only thing my friends have done. Anything else you have read or heard about them are fabrications, lies meant to silence them. None of us care what anyone else does, unless they are attacking someone else. I do not fear or hate trans people; I have never had a reason to hate or fear any of them until I read the horrible smears against my friends on the internet. I just don’t like to encourage people to lie and deceive others or themselves with their words, and I hate to see my friends slandered with hateful, violent lies and attacks.
We want trans people to be safe. We aren’t attacking anyone. We encourage trans people to make safe spaces for yourselves. We just don’t want you attacking us or invading our safe spaces. I have no problem with anyone who has issues with their anatomy. I have a lot of honest questions about how trans people have come to the conclusions about themselves that they have. I would one day love to have an honest conversation with someone in this category, just so I can understand them better. But when my friends are attacked and slandered by this group of people, I feel like I no longer want to hear what they say because they have thrown their credibility away. Because of lies. This is stupid and sad and serves no one.
The most disturbing thing about this whole shitstorm is that the people who are being ruthlessly attacked and slandered only want to talk about how we (all of us, including those who are attacking them) can help stop the destruction of the planet on whom we all depend. This is the crux of the situation. We all have work to do, and all this hostility is keeping that from happening. Please take an honest look at the situation. Look at it from all angles; listen to all sides, and use your heads and hearts to make an accurate assessment of this. The planet is being murdered, people. We need to stop the petty attacks and get to work, now, before it’s too late.
4. I really can’t fathom how this has gotten so blown out of proportion. I have only been a DGR member for a short time but I have never caught even a whiff of the organization being transphobic or cult-like. Nor does any of Lierre’s writing nor any presentations that I have seen contain even a hint of what she is being accused of. EVERYONE that I have encountered in DGR has been very thoughtful and inclusive with every interaction, not just with each other, but towards every creature on earth, no matter their perceived identity.
I can see that the letter which has recently been published contains outright lies. I recognize this in my heart because my experience with Deep Green Resistance has been nothing like what the letter is describing, not even close. The comments attributed to Keith are taken out of context to provide a toxic mimic of what was actually said and what the circumstances were. It’s also ridiculous to claim that DGR has fought for and accomplished nothing. In addition to individual and chapter projects, money donations, and other contributions that I personally know of, DGR’s advisors have made it their life’s work to fight for the environment and oppressed beings everywhere. These commitments were made by them long before the formation of Deep Green Resistance.
One of the main reasons that I chose this particular organization to join is because of their policy that women are allowed to choose with whom they share their bathing and sleeping spaces. As someone who was a sexual abuse victim for three decades, I am painfully aware of what it feels like to have your space and body violated. I am also painfully aware of how many tricks an abuser will use to gain access to your space and body. There are documented cases happening right now of men violating women under the guise of Trans. This is reality.
As far as I know, we weren’t planning on forcing our particular feminist beliefs on ANYONE during PIELC or during any other time. And we are not planning on telling other groups how to arrange their sleeping and bathing either. So I don’t understand how allowing Lierre to speak about environmental issues is making the conference unsafe for anyone in any way. I think that the individuals, organizations, and activists who are publishing and have endorsed this letter would do well to take a moment to evaluate her actual words and her actual work before putting forth this nonsense.
Current female DGR member.
5. “If you want a definition of what a coward is, it’s needing to push a whole class of people down so that you can walk on top of them.”
― Andrea Dworkin
“Feminism is hated because women are hated. Anti-feminism is a direct expression of misogyny; it is the political defense of women hating.”
― Andrea Dworkin
To whom it may concern,
I started this letter out with two quotes, I hope you have read them because they are from a very important Radical Feminist Andrea Dworkin who, if she were here today would be very angry and not nearly as kind as I will be!
Angry because you make wild accusations about the scholarship and practise of a Lierre Keith an ecological visionary and a dedicated radical feminist who has been fighting on the front lines of anti-porn, prostitution for 25 years. The Vegetarian Myth has done more to awaken this generation of vegetarians/environmentalists who were hoping to save the planet by their heart-felt choice, but instead find out that their moral choice is actually killing them.The scholarship, research and practise of radical feminism has long been critical of the “transsexual” and porn industry. Critical, not incendiary, nor ‘transphobic’ as the propagandists seem to have led you to believe.(Sheila Jeffrey, Janice Raymond, Mary Daly, and many more)
I encourage you to look beyond the story you have been told and research Lierre Keith’s and her growing number of supporters views, yourself. The lies, fabrications and histrionics are just that, they are meant to silence a very important voice who dares to call our attention to the relationship between how we treat our bodies and how we treat our body, the Earth. Once you bother to engage the arguments and position of radical feminist regarding the harm that the construct of ‘gender’ does to the class of people known as woman, You too will start to question the rhetoric coming from a community who is big on holding woman accountable for daring to speak, but does little to stop their own threatening behaviour when females young and old, simply want to gather with other females and share our experiences.
You know, really, it is quite alarming to see organizations and schools colluding with people who are bent are eradicating decades of radical feminst scholarship by not even acknowledging it. Radical Feminism will not go away because it is a key to the environmental challenges that lie ahead. Deep Green Resistance knows this and for me they are the only ones walking their talk. The part where the harassers mention the fact that DGR has not participated in actions, with clear cutting, climate change, or fossil fuel infrastructure. Well of course not, have you read the book?
I have recently joined DGR precisely because it is radical feminist, not anti-anything. The stance DGR takes” pro-women” is refreshing in this porn culture infected world. The radical roots of this perspective can be found in the research and writings of; Ti Grace Anderson, Kate Millet, Shulasmith Firestone, Mary Daly, Janice Raymond, Susan Griffin, Andrea Dworkin, Carolyn Merchant, Elizabeth Dodson-Grey, Sheila Jeffreys, Adrian Rich, Marilyn French……see Ecofeminism and thousands more.
Ecologically minded women are growing in power and voice. We are not against anything, we are for life, for living in/with the body (the Earth) we are given and doing the healing to get there. A message that is at the very heart of the Deep Green Resistance. It is unfortunate that the policies, philosophy and intent are so frightening to some that rather than learn strategies to live with a different perspective, it becomes demonized. Seems to me that sums up the treatment of the class called ‘women’ since forever.(witch burning, hysteria, rape, oh and more rape!)
To suggest cancelling Lierre Keith is just downright wrong. Stop harassing a radical feminist ecological visionary and conspiring with bullies. Do yourselves a favour please, radical feminism is not new, it is here to stay.
Deep Green Resistance New member.
B.A. Environmental & Resource Studies(Trent University)
M.E.S in Environmental Studies(York University)
B.Ed Bachelors in Education(University of Toronto)
Diploma in Art (Sculpture, CTS)
Teacher, Toronto District School Board, Grades 9-12
Continuing Education Teacher: Sculpture and Lost-Wax Bronze
RadFem:rise up Toronto, media contact/spokesperson.
Toronto, ON Canada.
Greetings Earth Dwellers,
I am a female who was socialized to please and serve men. In defying my socialization I have not pleased men, but instead, have become an eco-warrior, in service to our collective movements for real social change. I have worked with DGR, Earth First!, Greenpeace and I know people who are friends with people in Rising Tide North America.
I have “good energy”, people like to tell me, and even white men respond favorably to the work I do, though they often disrespect me in the process because of their male privilege. I have been threatened with violence for being “transphobic” and “an oppressor” on fb event pages for progressive/radical environmental movement-building.
It has been a long journey since those threats of violence, and I can confidently say now, that I am a trans critical feminist. I wouldn’t have been, if the men and supporters of “trans feminism” in my life would allow for an open and rational discussion of gender politics. Since they have responded with threats of violence against me and all of those “hateful bigoted” feminists, I have come to understand that transgender politics is used to silence and attack women. I hope to get this message and experience out to the larger “radical” environmental movement because if we cannot address misogyny and patriarchy, then we are not going to save the earth.
The best way to stop real social change is to pit the proponents against each other so the momentum and movement dies. This is what is happening in the environmental movement in North America. Lierre Keith and radical feminism are not the enemy. None of us are perfect in our analyses, prescriptions and organizing styles and tactics, but one thing is clear to me; abusing someone to try to change their thinking or behavior will not work. The only way to change me or Lierre or any of the “hateful bigoted” feminists out there who are imperfectly standing up for women’s rights and liberation, is to allow discussion to happen.
Constructive discussion needs to replace destructive personal attacks. I may never agree with you about gender politics, but threatening me with violence is not going to attract me to your arguments.
Keith and her supporters, to my knowledge, have not threatened anyone with violence or put pictures up on the internet of “trans” people with large penises in their mouths. This is not democratic discourse and discussion! It is hate speech pointing the finger at those targeted, saying that we are the ones using “hate speech” when we question if men can become women.
I will leave you with this video blog by Pippa Flemming, a black lesbian feminist living in the Bay Area. It is time for us to speak out against sexist oppression of women. Just like the putting on of “black face” by white people is offensive and racist, so too is it offensive and sexist for men to dress as women and claim to be us.
Thank you for your consideration. I hope we all can become better thinkers, organizers and activists through open discussion and respectful dialogue.
Anonymous Eco-Activist Womon
7. An open letter to the conveniently anonymous author of Earth First’s open letter to Paul Shang and Friends of Land, Air and Water:
I am absolutely furious with the distortions and attempted censorship evident in your letter to the organizers of an important environmental conference, during a time in which our planet is possibly dying of radiation sickness and other ongoing environmental catastrophes, making this a time when solidarity among environmentalists is more crucial than ever. And who are you attacking but a group which believes in the diversification of strategies and tactics and direct confrontations with power? What could be more courageous, and more necessary for people to hear about, at a time in Earth’s history than this?
In the first place, it is unlikely that Lierre Keith, as a speaker who has presented for the PIELC environmental conference before – about environmental issues – will even address the issue of trans folks during her talk on the environment. Trans people are not destroying the planet and its ecosystems and therefore the subject, if it weren’t for all of these preceding attempts to silence DGR and Lierre Keith in particular, the subject of trans people would be irrelevant to the topic of the conference and Lierre’s talk. As far as I know, Lierre may still consider it irrelevant to the topic of the environmental conference – or given the extreme attempts to silence and censor the speakers and organizations who appear at the conference, it may no longer be irrelevant. That is not for me to decide; it’s not my talk.
I will however point out that the open letter sent to Paul Shang and Friends of Land, Air and Water, was deeply distorted. In the five endnotes provided as a reference for Lierre’s supposed hate speech, not one pointed to a source authored by Lierre herself, nor a video of her speaking, of which there are many across the internet (good luck finding one containing hate speech though). It is unfair to take tiny snippets of sentences and ideas, the way you do when you claim that Lierre asserts that all transgender people are “deeply misogynistic,” yet you only quote the two words “deeply misogynistic.”
Another part of the letter containing gross distortions is the part which says “Keith and her community of self-described ‘radical feminists’ have heaped some of the most hateful and sordid attacks against trans people and their allies.”
I have two major problems with this sentence. The first is the description of radical feminism as the self description of “Keith and her community,” as though Lierre perhaps invented the concept of “radical feminism,” a concept which is validated by a small, marginalized group of people led by Keith herself. The obvious attempt, through the wording of this sentence, is to make it appear as though “radical feminism” is not a real movement of radically progressive politics.
Radical feminism is in fact the name for the contemporary manifestation of what is more commonly known as “second wave” feminism, which was the most prominent and visible and yes, radically progressive, form of feminism for a period of at least 30 years from the 60′s all the way until the 1990′s when, incidentally, the internet arrived in the homes of people in developed nations on a massive scale, bringing with it unlimited free and completely anonymous access to pornography. This just so happened to coincide with the rise of the third wave of feminism, which calls itself “pro-sex,” which might be better described as pro-pornography. The point I’m trying to make here is not that radical feminism is preferable to and entirely different than the pro-pornography feminism of what is known as “third wave” feminism (although I believe both of these things), the point is to illustrate that “radical feminism” is not some small, non-progressive, marginalized, cultish creation of Lierre’s; as might be inferred by the language used in Earth First’s open letter to the PIELC organizers. Radical feminism is in fact a legitimate, increasingly popular, progressive, anti-pornography, pro-equality set of politics with a long and continuing history and is a movement which has been the catalyst for most of the reproductive rights advances in industrialized nations in recent history.
For more on the three waves of feminism, please visit this site for a quick overview: http://www.pacificu.edu/magazine_archives/2008/fall/echoes/feminism.cfm
The second major problem I have with the statement that “Keith and her community of self-described ‘radical feminists’ have heaped some of the most hateful and sordid attacks on trans people and their allies” is that the entire statement is simply untrue.
I would think that in a world where hundreds of trans people are being murdered every year, http://www.buzzfeed.com/lesterfeder/238-trans-people-murdered-worldwide-in-the-past-year that assaults and murders would constitute “the most hateful and sordid attacks on trans people and their allies.” However, I don’t know of a single instance in which a self-identified radical feminist has ever assaulted, let alone killed, any trans person. Yet the perceived hatred of trans people by DGR has caused members of DGR to be attacked by trans people and their allies.
This brings me to the concept of gender, which I see as a hierarchichal class structure rather than a binary consisting of two separate but equal parts. As with other class structures, socially acceptable violence is only permitted to flow in one direction; down the hierarchy – not up. In the case of gender, this violence flows from men, as a class, down to women, as a class. That is to say that in the dominant culture, violence flows down from biological males to biological females. This is evident in rape statistics and domestic battery statistics, which are readily available with a simple google search. This is why some groups, like DGR, accept and protect safe refuges for biological women within their organizations – safe refuges like bedrooms, toilet areas, and the womens’ caucus – where biological women are free of the gaze and influence of biological men to autonomously organize themselves as an interest group within the organization. Trans-identified people are not excluded from working with DGR on the basis of being trans, and according to Derrick Jensen, there was a trans person who respected the wishes of the biological women in the organization for a year. DGR is not exclusionary, it simply guarantees safe spaces to biological women in the context of a culture in which biological women are systemically preyed upon by biological men.
There is a video by Rachel Ivey of DGR called “The End of Gender: Revolution Not Reform” which I think describes her position well, and it is a position I am in agreement with. In the video, Rachel describes gender as a hierarchy and suggests the idea of, rather than stretching the concept of gender into a spectrum between masculine and feminine, working to destroy the hierarchical system of gender itself. She wisely points out that gender cannot be both inherent and a choice, and points out some basic contradictions in the positions taken by queer theorists and liberal feminists. To me, this view of abolishing the entire hierarchical system of gender, rather than stretching it into a spectrum, is the more radically progressive view. Why does this matter for an environmental conference? In an era of increasingly apocalyptic environmental catastrophies such as the ongoing and unstoppable radiation leaks at Fukushima and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill which has devastated the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic ocean, radically progressive environmental politics are essential. Radically progressive ecofeminists are an essential part of the movement, and, as Rachel Ivey mentioned in her video, she is there (working with DGR) because of their policies protecting biological women, and most of the other women in the organization are as well; and if those policies were changed, most of the current women in the organization would go away.
So if PIELC were to bow to those who would silence DGR and its speakers, who is being exclusionary? A group which accepts transgendered people as members and participants while maintaining a different view of gender politics than is currently accepted by liberal feminists and queer theorists, or an organization which blacklists the members of that group for providing refuge for men and women with radical gender politics as well as radical environmental politics?
On this dying planet we need men and women – no we need people – with more and more radically progressive politics; both radically progressive gender politics and radically progressive environmental politics. The silencing of one of the most vocally militant environmental groups which is contributing much in the way of strategies and tactics to the radically progressive environmental community because the organization and many of its members subscribe to a radically progressive view of gender politics as well is a huge mistake in a time when the Earth itself seems on the verge of extinction. We need those revolutionary strategies and tactics which DGR is trying to contribute to the environmental movement and we need a fair and open discussion about not only those tactics, but also if necessary, about the points of contention which generate the attempted silencing of such a group. That means a fair and open discussion, not a discussion which takes place by distorted and poorly referenced anonymous open letters which purport to speak for hundreds of thousands of people when the vast majority of those people likely know nothing about this issue, in large part because it is not being publicly debated. DGR is not a racist organization, a sexist organization, a homophobic organization, nor a transphobic organization. At least hear what DGR has to say on the topic before blacklisting the organization and its speakers from speaking events and conferences for their supposed beliefs. At least listen to what those beliefs actually are, so that you know what you are censoring. None of the sources you cited in your open letter asking for the censorship of Lierre Keith is a direct link to any of Lierre Keith’s original work. At least do some research and find out what it is you are trying to have censored.
8. It’s good to see GreenPeace’s name near Earth First! on the same statement, since this clearly shows that they share in common the liberal mindset that didn’t accomplish anything for the environmental movement in the last 50 years.
On the other hand it’s depressing to see the names of some organizations that did some good work taking the lies about DGR for granted, (and that had the financial as well as the logistical support of DGR members whenever possible).
It’s also funny to see how you mention DGR playing a divisive role in the environmental movement while issuing such statement and while it has been the subject of attacks since its first day under the light.
I’m not going to respond to the lies about transphobia uttered in the statement because those who seek the truth can go to DGR’s website, talk to DGR members, and make up their own mind. But in all cases, congratulations on doing the COINTLERPO work for the state.
Maybe DGR does really draw a line; one that liberal organizations like the ones that signed on the statement cannot stand.So maybe this flurry of accusations is deeply rooted in jealousy and fear.
Oh, and maybe it’s time to merge GreenPeace and Earth First! together, I can’t really see the difference anymore.
Tony Saghbiny of Radical Beirut
9. As a radical feminist and environmentalist, I object to the false smear campaign against Lierre Keith to prevent her participation as a speaker for the upcoming PIELC conference.
There is not a single incident of violence committed by feminists against transgender persons, but there are numerous examples of violent actions by transgenders against feminists. Ms. Keith is invited to the PIELC based on her credentials as an environmentalist, thinker and writer. If transgenders have issues with violence against persons with their gender orientation, they should confront the male-bodied, born males, who are responsible for those assaults.
Challenging the free speech of Ms. Keith as a radical feminist and environmentalist (a born female) does not make common sense. I want to hear what Ms. Keith has to say about the state of our planet.
It is outrageous that false charges and misunderstandings would be used to stifle free speech. Shame shame on those who would silence Ms. Keith.
I’ve been working as an environmentalist & social activist since 1981 & my life & work improved dramatically when I read the DGR book.
I was lucky enough to read the book as soon as came out, & I did so because I noticed some colleagues felt quite threatened by it.
As a permaculture designer with a strong a social activist background I recognized it as the most intelligent, practical, realistic & urgently necessary manual on how to design a transition to a saner world (to quite literally, save the planet).
Because of this I immediately added it to the bibliography of a radicalized Permaculture curriculum we have been developing over the last 15years, as I was delighted & hugely relieved to find in DGR the answers to many frustrations I had been piling up about the big gap I saw between permaculture and radical activism, but especially of the lack of effectiveness of the liberal-postmodernist agenda that has been plaguing the environmental & other social movements. I have since encouraged many colleagues to read this book, as the best designers manual for our evolution. It has radicalized many of us & it is removing a lot of fog & blocks in our courage & conviction, as we more accurately name & recognize the problem.
I didn’t however see the need to join the DGR organization (mostly because am already very busy with several big transition projects working on very similar aims) until I realized it was being attacked, & precisely for the radical feminist stance which I so much appreciate & very much needed to find, for my own sanity.
I’ve been an activist for nearly 30years now & I’ve seen enough horizontal hostility to recognize it from afar. It is a nasty, petty, debilitating plague which is the core reason why the 1% to keep enslaving the 99%, as it destroys our collective intelligence potential by reducing legitimate, interesting debate & solidarity potential to vicious stupid wars, when emotionally-roused confused individuals attack radicals with slurs, lies (& as in this case, even outrageous threats of physical violence), instead of intelligently engage in rational argument, from which we can all learn.
I remember one of my older permaculture mentors reassuring me (when some of my own colleagues were trying to destroy one of the controversial permaculture projects I ran) by saying that over his (much longer) activist career he had learned that if you ever want to know where really interesting (system-changing) work is happening, “just look out for the fireworks”: those people or projects are attacked because they trigger the oppressive system’s defense mechanisms – which reside in great part in our individual & collective internal patterns of oppression, not just in the institutions that make up society. He counseled me to not be surprised if these attacks came from where I least expected them (including people I thought of as my allies) & to prepare for these attacks if I was going to do any truly cutting edge work, to design good defenses but also learn to see them as confirmation that I was on the right track.
This is why my admiration for DGR & its brilliant leadership has only increased over time, with every elegantly blocked attack. In particular I rejoice in seeing no flinching or compromise around our radical feminist core, no matter how unpopular it is with the (current) alternative scene. It is no coincidence that the radical feminism in DGR is what most pushes the buttons of our colleagues: it is the most revolutionary (& most necessary) part of any real positive social, economic & environmental change. Pity so few still understand it, but our numbers are growing steadily, & the grotesque show of pitiful violent irrationality that our attackers are making is only helping to put our (rather more complex) points across.
We desperately need a radical feminist DGR organization as a bastion against the ravages of post-modernism, which has (for far too long: decades over which we’ve witnessed more catastrophic destruction of vital ecosystems than ever in known human history) destroyed clarity, solidarity & so our ability to effect real change.
I’ve been in several wonderful organizations that have only become stronger through the pruning & fortifying effects of this kind of silly attacks, and am convinced this is what is in the process of happening with DGR. Thank you DGR, from the bottom of my heart, & thank you to all the brave individuals who lead it, especially to those who have personally endured the ignorance & violence of our totally mis-guided colleagues: you are amazing!
Stefania Strega Scoz
Integral Permaculture Academy
11. So where exactly is this “transphobia” in Lierre Keith & DGR? I have seen no proof of it, only loads of empty accusations. Can you actually prove your claims?
To me it looks like you are having a problem with the definition of transphobia. Radical feminist stance towards gender is a critic, not transphobia (like, for example in Greece, where trans* people are being jailed – that’s transphobic) -> seems like you misunderstand the meaning of this term. Or you consciously manipulate with it.
- To whom it may concern,I recently became a member of DGR. Please let it be known that while I am a voice within DGR, I do not speak for the entire organization, this is my own perspective.Last year, I was stalked, harassed, and run out of my town due to my (very personal, very difficult) decision to detransition back to female (some people call this female-to-male-to-female, but I call it reclaiming the female body that I have). Lierre Keith immediately reached out to help me, offering not only friendship, employment, and housing, but a place for me in activism where my voice would be recognized and valued. She also offered me safety from trans “women” (i.e. males) who were stalking and threatening me.
Lierre also offered my girlfriend some much-needed help as well; during my decision to detransition, my girlfriend’s car was vandalized twice by local trans-activists, one of those times included the word “DYKE” being keyed into her car. My girlfriend was then diagnosed with a debilitating condition that makes her a fall-risk, and Lierre graciously offered her a place to live as well. I will be grateful for many, many years that Lierre helped us get out of a very dangerous and hostile situation.
Based on my own experiences with Lierre, I don’t think she is a “transphobic” person, nor is DGR a “transphobic” organization. To suggest that DGR, or it’s board of representatives (including Lierre, Derrick Jensen, and Saba Malik) are “transphobic” is not only glaringly incorrect, but also slanderous to boot. The book “Deep Green Resistance” contains no such instances of “transphobic language,” nor do any books in Lierre’s catalogue as an author (however, she has a very wonderful book called “Skyler Gabriel” about a lesbian punk-rocker who saves a young girl from a horrible man, but I digress.)
If Lierre was in fact, transphobic (which she isn’t), she would *not* have offered me a job, nor accepted me into her organization, let alone her home.
Trans activists, on the other hand, have been all too quick to dismiss me in general. My complaints against them can be found here: http://nymeses.blogspot.com/2014/01/trans-activism-fails-detransitioners.html
If trans activists wish to address these issues within their own activism, they are more than welcome.
Radical feminism is a key component to the ideology of DGR. It is a branch of feminist theory which asserts that women are an oppressed class on the basis of sex. It further states that the agents and beneficiaries of patriarchy (or male-supremacy) are men. I have read many books from radical feminist authors, along with scholarly articles, news stories, blog posts, etc. Many radical feminists hold that people cannot change biological sex: it is a sex-based system of power that you are born into. It is much the same as other immutable characteristics (like race, or species for instance). However, there are some trans activists who claim that not only can a person change sex, but a person can also identify as a different race, animal, non-sentient being, a person with disabilities, etc. Look no further than “otherkin” communities online.
Radical feminism also says that because people are born into these roles based on their sex, that the gender roles themselves need to be abolished instead of being a laundry list of endless identities. Radical feminism supports that the system of patriarchy must be dismantled.
I am deeply saddened to see my fellow activists being maliciously attacked online, or in some instances in person. It’s atrocious for men who pretend to be women to photoshop pornographic images of my mentor and friend (Lierre). It’s disgusting that younger DGR activists are routinely intimidated in person when tabling or at speaking events.
I am tired of seeing the male privilege that pretend-women are leveraging against females. No matter how many cosmetic procedures, no matter how much makeup, clothing or accessories, no matter how long living “as a woman,” no matter what background: these men are still using the sense of entitlement they learned through patriarchal socialization to bully, intimidate, assault/attack, silence, degrade, deplatform, or use other acts of violence against a vulnerable population (women).
This is not revolutionary, this is patriarchy.
Women who were born into the class of women deserve to have our own activist spaces and gatherings. We deserve to mobilize together, to brainstorm, to collaborate, to support one another. We cannot do this if our spaces are being constantly encroached upon, our boundaries violated, our priorities skewed, or our voices dampened by people who were born men and spent at least a portion of their lives being taught to expect women to curtail to their every whim.
Laverne Cox recently stated that to call a trans “woman” a man “is an act of violence.” I propose that Laverne doesn’t actually know violence in the way that my sisters and I do. I propose that if any average man had to lead the life of an average woman, he would run for the hills in fear and never want to interact with society again. When trans “women” are treated unfairly in society, it is because they are feeling a taste, some of whom for the first time, of what male violence is. I suggest that it is in their best interests to become *allies* to feminists, instead of continuing to act as perpetrators themselves.
I look forward to the day where men will grow up and stop attacking us. I have never lost my hope. But in the meantime, women have a right to our boundaries. And even if these so-called activists change their ways, women still have a right, as human-beings, to maintain boundaries towards *anyone* who proves to be a threat.
As such, I firmly declare that DGR is *not* a transphobic organization, and I will continue to hold these beliefs until proven otherwise. I can, however, immediately tell that DGR is committed to a woman-centric view of the world, and believes that the rape and destruction of women is very much comparable to the rape and destruction of the planet.
Heath Atom Russell
- I have a background and set of training I’m not proud of. No I’m not just referring to being indoctrinated in this culture as a man and all the masculine posturing and displays of boundary breaking that come with it. I’m referring at this moment to my time as member of the imperial forces of the US and specifically the time spent learning and witnessing counter-insurgency tactics to discourage rebellion. I had attended with other soldiers some schools that specialized in these tactics, but my mission predominantly dealt with the disabling and removal of explosive devises.I got to witness these tactics play out in the grand strategy of silencing voices of dissent. I sat in on meetings where lies were created, circulated among what people believed to be reputable sources, and reprinted in such a manner that had the local populace working against itself. Outing and attacking those fighting for independence, rather than against the colonizing troops. Those circulating the story had little choice, if they didn’t do what was asked they faced severe repercussions. I was sickened by what I saw at work during 2003 and 2004.Since that time in my youth, I’ve seen this take place again and again within corporate media circles here in the US. I always held out some hope for independent media and activist media groups, but these recent attacks have dashed away the last of this hope.
Lierre Kieth and DGR are accused of many different things, and among the accusers we have people claiming they are members as they write slanderous filth on comments and blogs claiming its DGR’s official stance. Somehow people ran with this without verifying if they were members? Are you kidding me. Do you understand how much the US sees environmental groups as a threat, and yet you run with this? Way to do the governments work for them.
We see other “sources” including self published articles. That’s some serious journalistic integrity there. That’s like going to the department of forestry expecting to find an honest assessment about the state of our forested lands. If you don’t have information from the source you are speaking of, you don’t have a source, you have hearsay.
There are comments about the lack of “actual work” DGR does by groups like EF which feature an outspoken DGR member and author of numerous articles on the cover artwork of their direct action manual. Seriously at this point this is beyond a lack of understanding of integrity, it’s just laughable. It also ignores the serious work that is being done by DGR in various campaigns. Available for all to see and keep tabs on at the DGR website.
Here’s the issue as it comes up. DGR’s Women’s caucus is space safe from those with male privilege. To discuss and organize away from those that do not face the social limitations imposed on women by gender under patriarchy and the sex based difference that males just don’t seem to understand. Most people see it as ridiculous that a group of old white guys make the decisions for women’s reproductive rights, because a male bodied person does not have an understanding of what a female goes through. Somehow here though these women seeking to organize based on their shared oppression so that they can strategize to rise above it are labeled as bigots and silenced from speaking at every available opportunity? How in the hell does this make sense.
Nobody in DGR has attempted to claim that transpeople do not deserve the same rights, in fact we support it. I’ve personally done quite a bit of security work at my local LGBT center when it came under threats. I stand with the rights of trans people to live in a world free of threats as does DGR, it is stated in the basic code of conduct, if anyone could be pulled away from what they are doing sharing lies, to look at it.
Up until this point I’ve been holding back to be honest, but I’m about to go off.
Everyone involved in the environmental movement is a failure. At the individual and the group level. We rack up more defeats than ties and victories are not even a goal anymore. People focus on defending a forest here, or stopping a pipeline there, and even when they stop it, they’ve only achieved a stalemate at best.
Victory (and we need victory, not more stalemates and defeats) involves seeing more diverse ecosystems each year, they involve greater amounts of wild and pristine sacred spaces, it involves less greenhouse gases in the air, and less acidic oceans. We are not even focused on victory as a movement, most organizations happily busy themselves with seeking stalemates. We need these organizations, but just holding the line in a couple of locations is not going to save the living systems on this planet.
This is what brought me to DGR, it was the first group I saw willing to talk about how dire the situation is. Willing to take stock of it, and seek to implement a strategy that could turn the tide. That could and seeks to encourage an offensive wing of the environmental movement. The violation imperative that causes men to look at the world and see what barriers they can break and how much they can profit from it is the same violation imperative that trains men to do this to women. This is integral in this work. If you don’t see it that way, that is fine. We won’t do a damn thing to try and stop your work, speaking tours or other events. DGR isn’t looking to build a mass movement, we understand we need all types and hope that we can work towards the goal of ending ecocide together. If this isn’t something you see yourselves as capable of, it is not my job to convince you. It is also not my concern, I believe in a plurality of opinions so long as no one is harmed. DGR is not harming anyone and directly removes members that would do so.
If you think your fight is with us, I can’t deny your experience of reality. Only tell you that you are doing the work of the police state free of charge and calling it activism.
14. Dear individual reading this,
I am writing in condemnation of anti-feminists who are refusing women’s right to say ‘no’. Anti-feminists who are refusing women’s rights to set boundaries. Refusing women’s human rights to meet together in groups of their choosing. Anti-feminists who are refusing women’s basic human rights to say ‘no’ to co-sleeping partners. Anti-feminists refusing women’s rights to determine who they do and do not want in communal bathing spaces.
Upon setting these boundaries, the women, their children and families have been threatened with violence and rape from these anti-feminists. Those who work alongside these women are threatened with violence and rape by these anti-feminists. Mace has been threatened. Ocular pepper has been threatened. Molotov cocktails have been thrown. Women have been harassed and assaulted. All because women dared to say ‘no’. All because women attempted to claim their basic human rights.
But this is nothing new.
At a time when I was still too young to legally consent, men colluded to prostitute me. At first it was friends and a boyfriend, and then it became other men in the sex-abuse industry. I was targeted due to my ethnicity and femaleness. My ethnicity a fetish, my young age a fetish, my vulnerability a fetish. There were girls as young as 14 working as strippers, made to prostitute to men as old as their grandfathers… The men, who smelled of cigars and body odor and whiskey. Their disgusting sweat dripping on me below them. The smell in the porn cinema in the summer, of months old semen rotting inside the red velvet seats in the baking heat. Smells that made me vomit. Men who made me dream of arson.
I couldn’t even count the number of sexual assaults I had in one night, let alone the number of sexual assaults and rapes over my time in the industry. A friend had her nipple piercing ripped out of her breast. 20 years later, her breast still has not healed. There was the night where there were two hundred men between us and the door, they demanded sex from us that we did not want to give, but we did anyway, as saying ‘no’ would have been so much worse. We were still under age at the time. Fingers and hands everywhere, shoved into every opening I have. I’ve never been able to get the taste of condoms out of my mouth. The man who broke into my dressing room and pinned me to the wall, taking what he wanted from my body, despite screaming ‘no’ after ‘no’.
And what of the men who were supposed to protect me? Who I supposedly could trust? Two of these men tortured and killed my animal companions. Another repeatedly raped me at knife point, and sliced into my breasts, my back, my ankles. I still have the scars. Another man attempted to kill me on several occasions, trying to persuade me to commit suicide. Another man planned to kidnap our baby, whether or not she was still inside me at the time.
I’m approaching middle age now. My life has been calm and happy for nearly a decade. I still scream awake with nightmares, reliving things over, or with new twists on old events. I startle and flinch and panic at loud noises, especially doors, or in kitchens. If my body is touched in certain places, the flashbacks are so powerful I floor my lover not realizing it is now; it is my love; and I am safe.
Despite all this, I believe in the humanity of men. I was given this gift by feminism. The masculinity, which men are trained into by patriarchy, is not inevitable. It is not their true selves. It is cultural conditioning. Patriarchy created masculinity and femininity: to arrange who would be privileged and who would potentially be targeted for the life I have lived. For men’s lineage, for women’s labor, for women’s bodies as entertainment. Feminists work to end this hierarchy of privilege. I fully believe if it had been abolished prior to my birth, my abuse would have been minimal if non-existent.
This feminist knowledge is vital to understanding the work of organizations like Deep Green Resistance. DGR understand how the horrors enacted on the bodies of women and girl children, are the same horrors enacted on non-humans, and on the earth. When a group of men are unable to even recognize women as human people, with human rights, how will they recognize the needs of nonhumans screaming in pain in labs, or the biosphere dying from mining, toxicity and destruction. When the economic system and production of oil, is held as more sacred than the bodies of indigenous humans along the Athabasca river who wish to keep their blood and bones cancer-free, this is the same abuse as was done to me. DGR understand this. It is woven into their political core, and ecological and social praxis.
And there are very few other places where I have felt as safe as I do within DGR.
My life until recently has been a continuous highway of my boundaries being broken through, or ‘no’ going unheard and uncared about. My human rights denied. My personhood denied. So when I say ‘no’ to co-sleeping and communal bathing with people I do not want in my space, that ‘no’ is important.
DGR listen to my ‘no’. They honour my humanity, my personhood, my human rights. Collectively DGR ensure my boundaries are looked after. That I am safe.
The anti-feminists want to take this away from me, and from other DGR women whose lives have been like mine. The anti-feminists want to break through our boundaries, ignore our requests to stop, and push us up against a metaphorical wall like so many men before.
By agreeing with the fallacies within the anti-feminists’ misleading letter, this, is what you are signing onto. That women like me, should not be permitted boundaries. That women like me have no basic human right to say ‘no’.
Thank you for taking the time to read this,
Anonymous woman in DGR.
2/19/2014 Response to anti-feminism campaign against Lierre Keith and Deep Green Resistance
It is outrageous when male dominated groups—such as those who signed the accusatory letter against Deep Green Resistance—tell lies about women. This is exactly what abusers do; they tell lies to us about ourselves. This is a violation of my personal boundary. It’s also a violation of any kind of ethical behavior by activists. Every person who supports or who signed that letter is an abuser who in effect attempts to invade our minds, invent our motives, and then tell that story to anyone who will listen. No human being has the right to do that to another. Abusers silence their victims and accuse them of wrongdoing, almost always of the very offences made by the abusers. That is what their letter is all about: silencing strong radical feminist women, including Lierre Keith and other female members of DGR, by accusing us of silencing trans people. We refuse to be intimidated into silence about our experiences. We refuse to let the self-defined boundaries of our safe spaces be violated.
Their letter is full of lies. Because it has been done elsewhere, I won’t go through every lie; but I do want to highlight one false statement: “many of us have dedicated our lives to making these causes inclusive and non-reactionary”. In fact, they don’t include radical feminist women—women with a political worldview that acknowledges the oppression of women as a class—in their so-called inclusiveness. And if they are non-reactionary, what else do you call their letter? It goes beyond reactionary into accusatory and threatening. Do women not count as people who deserve to be included? Don’t we have human rights too?
And who are they to say who we accept as a member? Did they think to ask us? I see nowhere in their letter where they have spoken to or quoted any members of DGR, let alone the women of DGR. DGR includes anyone who wants to work with us and who agrees to our statement of principles. We allow any oppressed group to set up a safe space within DGR however they see fit. This includes women and trans people, too. DGR actually sees women as autonomous human beings. A new concept, I know. Did they forget that women are people with rights to define how we organize? We are not telling others how to set boundaries for their own safe spaces. Radical feminists don’t do that, we don’t demand entry to the spaces of others and we surely aren’t going to tell them who is or isn’t allowed in their space. Stop attempting to control what we do.
Our lived experience is that men often commit violent acts against women, and if we are to be able to organize together we need a safe space away from biological males. We have every right to set our boundary this way and we expect it to be respected. If we are going to stop the system from destroying us and the very Earth who we need in order to live, we are going to need safe spaces. The Earth needs all of us working together, and where necessary, agreeing to disagree. The world is being destroyed and all they can think of is dragging women back into the cage of oppression? This isn’t the first letter or article that Earth First! has published that I find threatening to me as a woman. Attempting to dismantle female-only spaces is an act of aggression against women. Attempting to force us to allow biological males into our safe space is an act of violence. This is male dominating, anti-feminist and aggressive masculine behavior.
In trying to protect one group they are trampling another one underfoot. By writing that letter, they are assisting in the oppression of women. This all comes down to the fact that the women in DGR decided to create a safe space for biological females. What power do any of these groups who signed that letter have over women that they can tell us who we should allow in the space we have created? And how does creating a safe space for some threaten the safety of others? Why are only women’s decisions being questioned?
Stop telling lies about us.
In solidarity with all groups and individuals who fight to end the oppression of women under patriarchy,
Deep Green Resistance Sonoran
16. I have been a radical feminist for several years and received my unfair share of the kind of hatred and abuse that is leveled at women who dare to have clear boundaries in terms of what they will and will not put up with as female activists. But even I who’ve been stalked, slandered and so abused have been stunned at the level of vitriol directed at DGR and Lierre Keith in particular.
More being added as we receive them!