Declaring the construction of oil fields an “act of violence,” a left-wing Swedish professor and climate change activist is calling on green militants to destroy fossil fuel infrastructure.
With incidents of climate protests and alleged acts of eco-terrorism on the rise in the last several months, Andreas Malm, author of “How to Blow Up a Pipeline,” said in a podcast interview that these isolated incidents by climate groups are only the beginning of what the movement has in store to carry out their ultimate agenda.
“The task for the climate movement is to make clear for people that building new pipelines, new gas terminals, opening new oil fields are acts of violence that need to be stopped—they kill people,” he told Bloomberg.
An associate professor of human ecology at Lund University, Malm is a leader of the climate activist movement and his writing has appeared in left-leaning media outlets like The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Nation.
“We are deep into the catastrophe; the hour is late, but the escalation has only just begun. We don’t know what exactly will work. The one thing we can be certain of is this: we are in a death spiral, we have to break out of it, and we must try something more. The days of gentle protest may be long over,” he wrote in an opinion column in The Guardian.
Calls for Acts of Terror to Fight Climate Change
While most actions of the climate activist movement would remain non-violent, said Malm, no key historical social justice movement—from the suffragettes to the Civil Rights Movement—had succeeded through totally peaceful means.
“We shouldn’t engage in assassinations or terrorism, or use arms and things like that,” he says. “But until that line or boundary, we need virtually everything … all the way up to sabotage and property destruction.”
Civil authorities have yet to impose the type of crackdown that might have been expected in the past, but efforts to target the eco-radicals with increasingly harsher measures are growing.
Malm says he welcomes and expects a reaction from law enforcement.
“That’s what always happens when you escalate. As soon as you pose a danger to the system, this is what you’ll get in return.
“And that’s a sign that you’re doing something good, that you are actually challenging some interests,” he added.
Green Activists Vandalize Art Masterpieces for Publicity
A can of tomato soup was thrown at Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” painting in October at the National Gallery in London, by members of the group “Just Stop Oil.” The group is funded by several California-based billionaires, including Aileen Getty, an heiress of the Getty family, who made their fortunes in oil, according to The Times of London.
In November, another group of protesters smeared black dye over a Gustav Klimt painting in Vienna.
Many climate activists, mainly from upper-middle-class families and allegedly supported by groups of wealthy backers, have conducted a wave of vandalism, arson, acts of intimidation, and public disruptions.
Other climate change groups like Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain have similar goals.
Malm compared the vandalism of the Van Gogh painting to a 1914 incident at the same gallery, when Canadian suffragette Mary Richardson slashed Diego Velázquez’s “Toilet of Venus” with a meat cleaver.
He quoted Richardson, who declared at the time that “justice is an element of beauty as much as color and outline on canvas.”
Meanwhile, another “Just Stop Oil” activist Jan Goodey was sentenced to six months in prison for bringing Britain’s busiest motorway to a standstill during rush hour in London in November.
In a separate incident in December, climate activist Deanna Coco was facing 15 months in prison in Australia for blocking a lane of traffic on the Sydney Harbour Bridge for almost half an hour.
Climate Activists Escalate From Harassment to Acts of Sabotage
In southern France, environmental activists protesting local air pollution attacked a cement factory, sabotaging electrical systems and damaging construction equipment and windows.
In an opinion piece in The New York Times, Malm wrote: “as a rule, I tend to think sabotage is most effective when it is precise and gritty. When activists from the same group smashed gas stations in April this year, they hit the nail on the head.
“Gasoline, unlike a Van Gogh painting, is a fuel of global warming” which “must be shut down to save humanity and other life-forms.”
Other radicals have gone around cities across Europe and throughout the United States slashing SUV tires to intimidate citizens so they will stop using gas-powered vehicles.
“Sabotaging fossil fuel infrastructure is a form of self-defense, or perhaps humanitarian intervention,” Malm told The Nation.
The radical professor also praised certain “leading energy scholars” at Boston University for discussing the pros and cons of committing acts of eco-terrorism in the name of climate change.
He praised their courage for deciding “remarkably, in favor of considering a full range of options, including civil disobedience and guerrilla warfare” against those who oppose them.
Malm Calls for Radical Escalation
Malm is calling for radical escalation of actions against governments, private companies, and individuals who support the use of fossil fuels, as he fears that the planet will die because of climate change.
“On the premises of climate science, fossil fuels should be classified as projectiles fired into humanity—primarily toward the Global South. The question is not whether we have a right to destroy them; it is why people haven’t yet acted on the imperative,” he told the publication.
Malm told The Nation that destroying fossil fuel infrastructure is not meant to “enlighten” those he calls climate change “denialists,” but to inflict costs on “the enemy: fossil capital.”