Keith Farnish on Undermining and Taking Risks

by: Sara on 08/22/2013
Posted in: Activism

Today's post is from Keith Farnish, the author of the just released book, Underminers, A Guide to Subverting the Machine. Keith is a long-time environmental activist and the author of Times Up! An Uncivilized Solution to a Global Crisis.

A vibrant, growing movement of radical protest is sweeping North America challenging civilization and the appalling environmental desecration that accompanies it. At once entertaining, shocking, and inspiring, Underminers is a radical guide to navigating and subverting the industrial machine, helping ordinary people to become agents for change and creating a real future for humanity.

You are invited to share your stories and experiences or to build your knowledge of undermining and all sorts of other related activities on The Underminers Network or by tweeting #underminers.

Sometimes disclaimers are just a way of making something out to be more dangerous than it really is; sometimes they are necessary. I was only two or three chapters into writing Underminers when it became clear that a disclaimer was absolutely necessary - not so much for the legal protection it could give to the author, publisher, distributor and retailers; but for the warning it gives to the reader. Activism, for want of a better term, is no longer about pretending to be doing something - if change is to happen on the scale required to prevent global catastrophe and the end of humanity, then we have to be talking about the kinds of activism that carry uncertain levels of risk, at least for those prepared to be Underminers.


New Society saw the idea behind Underminers and were brave enough to see the project through from raw text to publication of the book that goes on sale in September 2013. That in itself is a risk, for from its inception, it was clear that in order to save humanity and the wider environment from the kind of catastrophe we are currently headed toward, nothing less than the end of Industrial Civilization as we know it would be required. Civilization protects itself with the kinds of things most ordinary people are scarcely aware of; the kinds of things that keep us disconnected from the truth of what it means to be human; the kinds of things that keep rearing their heads in a ferocious effort to protect The Machine, then washing self-proclaimed citizens of any subversive thoughts. All it takes is a nice vacation, a trip to the shopping mall, a major sporting event or a new app, and everything is once again fine.


Anything that undermines these Tools of Disconnection is dangerous to the industrial system. Anything that is dangerous to the industrial system gives us the chance of a future on Earth.

I cannot make it any clearer: Industrial Civilization is incompatible with a living, thriving ecosystem. The purpose of civilization is to create a culture of domination and power, that imbues material wealth with far more importance than the lives of the people it controls. No civilization is sustainable. In our hearts we know this, but know we can only whisper such a dangerous truth.

There is potentially a host of Underminers waiting to bring down the system that is killing us and everything else that lives on planet Earth. Are you among them, and are you prepared to take a risk? After all, it can't be any more dangerous than being a slave; a victim; a puppet; a voter; a consumer; a citizen...

We are the Underminers, and this is our time.


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