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Antiglobalization and Radical Environmentalism: An Exchange on Ethical Grounds

Paul Joosse

Abstract


Since 1992, clandestine radical environmentalist cells, calling themselves the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), have carried out arson attacks in an effort to punish corporations for environmentally deleterious practices. I examine the radical environmental movement and find that its recent rise to prominence and notoriety is part and parcel of the larger development of the more general anti-globalization/anti-capitalist movement. Specifically, I examine how, despite its libertarian conservative origins, the ideology of Earth First! changed after an influx of new members with anti-state, anarchist sympathies. Finally, I assess the applicability of three major criticisms of “globalization from below” to the case of the ELF, namely: a) that its preoccupation with the transnational sphere and abandonment of electoral politics is misguided, b) that direct actions such as property destruction are counterproductive to the wider aims of the movement, and, c) that its strategies of contention are too episodic, and do very little to encourage practical, inclusive, local, and sustained action in the service of global justice

Keywords


Radical environmentalism, ecoterrorism, anti-globalization, social movements, environmental ethics, leaderless resistance, Earth Liberation Front

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