Total Liberation

Total Liberation

The Power and Promise of Animal Rights and the Radical Earth Movement

David Naguib Pellow

All oppression is linked: radical environmental and animal liberation movements in the struggle for social justice

336 Pages, 6 x 9 in

  • Paperback
  • 9780816687770
  • Published: September 1, 2014
  • eBook
  • 9781452943046
  • Published: September 1, 2014


Total Liberation

The Power and Promise of Animal Rights and the Radical Earth Movement

David Naguib Pellow

ISBN: 9780816687770

Publication date: September 1st, 2014

336 Pages

8 x 5

"David Naguib Pellow is a first-rate scholar, and this rich, carefully-researched book demonstrates that fact. His refusal to march lock-step with any given theoretical perspective but, rather, to employ a variety of them to illuminate his data (data from diverse sources) makes this effort all the more impressive. In numerous places I found myself admiring his insights into a movement I have studied for decades." —Rik Scarce, Skidmore College

"A must read for scholars interested in repression, radical movements, and ethics."—Mobilization

"An important work for social movement scholars, for those theorizing environmental-social connections, and for those interested in genuine democracy and the movement toward total liberation from socioecological injustices. It is a critical but hopeful work from a scholar dedicated to making such liberation more thinkable."—American Journal of Sociology

"One of the most authentic accounts of the sunless side of what is widely known as ecoterrorism."—CHOICE

"Total Liberation sets a standard by which future research can be judged."—Antipode

When in 2001 Earth Liberation Front activists drove metal spikes into hundreds of trees in Gifford Pinchot National Forest, they were protesting the sale of a section of the old-growth forest to a timber company. But ELF’s communiqué on the action went beyond the radical group’s customary brief. Drawing connections between the harms facing the myriad animals who make their home in the trees and the struggles for social justice among ordinary human beings resisting exclusion and marginalization, the dispatch declared, “all oppression is linked, just as we are all linked,” and decried the “patriarchal nightmare” in the form of “techno-industrial global capitalism.”

In Total Liberation, David Naguib Pellow takes up this claim and makes sense of the often tense and violent relationships among humans, ecosystems, and nonhuman animal species, expanding our understanding of inequality and activists’ uncompromising efforts to oppose it. Grounded in interviews with more than one hundred activists, on-the-spot fieldwork, and analyses of thousands of pages of documents, websites, journals, and zines, Total Liberation reveals the ways in which radical environmental and animal rights movements challenge inequity through a vision they call “total liberation.” In its encounters with such infamous activists as scott crow, Tre Arrow, Lauren Regan, Rod Coronado, and Gina Lynn, the book offers a close-up, insider’s view of one of the most important—and feared—social movements of our day. At the same time, it shows how and why the U.S. justice system plays to that fear, applying to these movements measures generally reserved for “jihadists”—with disturbing implications for civil liberties and constitutional freedom.

How do the adherents of “total liberation” fight oppression and seek justice for humans, nonhumans, and ecosystems alike? And how is this pursuit shaped by the politics of anarchism and anticapitalism? In his answers, Pellow provides crucial in-depth insight into the origins and social significance of the earth and animal liberation movements and their increasingly common and compelling critique of inequality as a threat to life and a dream of a future characterized by social and ecological justice for all.

David Naguib Pellow is professor and Don A. Martindale Endowed Chair of Sociology at the University of Minnesota. He is the coauthor, with Lisa Sun-Hee Park, of The Slums of Aspen: Immigrants vs. the Environment in America’s Eden and author of Resisting Global Toxics: Transnational Movements for Environmental Justice and Garbage Wars: The Struggle for Environmental Justice in Chicago.



Introduction: All Oppression Is Linked

1. Never Apologies for Your Rage: Radical Origins and Organizing
2. Justice for the Earth and All Its Animals
3. Anarchism and Anticapitalism: Liberation from Government and Market
4. Direct Action: Confrontation, Sabotage, and Property Destruction
5. The Green Scare: State Repression of Liberation Movements
6. Resisting the Green Scare

Conclusion: Piecing It Together