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This System is Killing Us

This System is Killing Us

Land Grabbing, the Green Economy and Ecological Conflict

by Xander Dunlap

Learning lessons from those on the front lines of capitalist environmental destruction

This System is Killing Us is an insider look at the catastrophic effects that energy infrastructure and mining are having on communities, their land and our planet. Xander Dunlap spent a decade living and working with Indigenous activists and land defenders across the world to uncover evidence of the repression people have faced in the wake of untamed capitalist growth.

From Zapotec and Ikoot people struggling against wind energy projects in Oaxaca, Mexico to the violence of the Hambach mine in the German Rhineland, Dunlap presents the truth that lies behind the green re-branding of capitalism that social movements in the Global North have been slow to challenge.

By centring the struggles of people whose lives are being systematically destroyed, Dunlap reveals blind spots within the current official debates around climate change. The book also speaks to the feuds between socialist modernism and degrowth. While changing public policy could play a constructive role in remediating climate catastrophe, by understanding the successes and failures of those 'on the front lines', it becomes clear that decentralised—and ideally viral—self-organisation could be the only way out of this socioecological nightmare.

*All royalties from the book are being donated to the Stop Cop City Movement and Atlanta Solidarity Fund*

Xander Dunlap is a postdoctoral research fellow at Boston University, USA, and a visiting research fellow in the Global Development Studies Department, University of Helsinki, Finland. Their work has critically examined police-military transformations, market-based conservation, wind energy development and extractive projects more generally in Latin America, Europe and the United States. They have written numerous books, most recently Enforcing Ecocide: Power, Policing and Planetary Militarization. They are a long-time participant in anti-police, squatting and environmental movements.

'Dunlap is one of the foremost researchers on the unfolding relationship between ecocide, colonialism, extractivism, and green capitalism.'

- Peter Gelderloos, author of 'The Solutions are Already Here'

'Dunlap's work is vital for understanding the forces driving violence against land and water defenders around the world and why a transition to "renewable" energy will fail to stop it.'

- Alleen Brown, investigative journalist

'This book does what many of us cannot—it communicates truths about our world that we have instinctively known since we were children, but never been able to articulate. If, like me, you like arguing with your family around the dinner table, this book is going to be your greatest accomplice.'

- Bojana Novaković, actress, film maker and organizer

'An indispensable resource for scholars, activists, and policymakers looking to make real change toward a socially just and sustainable future.'

- Anna Feigenbaum, author of 'Tear Gas: From the Battlefields of WWI to the Streets of Today'

'One of the most compelling, demystifying and provocative calls to action in the face of the violent collapse of modernity. A must-read for anyone who wants to carry out or support serious anti-colonial, anti-state, and anti-capitalist struggles.'

- Dr. Carlos Tornel, author of 'Gustavo Esteva: Life and Work of a Public Deprofessionalized Intellectual'

'Demolishes our complacent faith in renewable energy and its associated fantasies of 'green new deals' and 'sustainable development', confronting green capitalism with the resistances its violence inspires, and drawing compelling lessons for our collective survival.'

- Dr. Japhy Wilson, Lecturer in Human-Environment Interactions, Bangor University, UK

'Travelling across sites of ecocide and resistance, from Mexico to Portugal, this book investigates socioecological catastrophe and social war. But the critique goes so much further and deeper - exploring the links between the fabrication of desires, the enchantment of modernity, and the ongoing infrastructural colonization through statism, "green projects" and the deeper pathology of progress. A simultaneously depressing and empowering must-read.'

- Dr. Andrea Brock, lecturer in International Relations, University of Sussex

'Our modern infrastructural systems are killing us, and the planet. In this crucial book, Xander Dunlap exposes the deadly connivence of states and capital, the dangers of well- intended critiques, and the challenging realities of vital socioenvironmental struggles.'

- Professor Philippe Le Billon, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia

'Dunlap brilliantly documents the catastrophic outcomes locally and globally as we entrust our planetary woes to the promises of dapper executives, left or right, who peddle technological transitions for green growth. Why must we instead encourage each other to shift our ways to address poverty without growth? Answers inside.'

- Professor James Fairhead, Department of Anthropology, University of Sussex

'This superb book is a breath of fresh air amid established modernist and leftist treatments of the polycrisis.'

- Arturo Escobar, author of 'Pluriversal Politics'

1. The Science of Maintaining Eco-Sociological Catastrophe
2. Grabbing Istmeño Wind: Energy Colonization and Resistance in Oaxaca
3. Fighting the Worldeater: Coal Extraction, Resistance and Green Washing in Germany
4. Mineral Demand: The Tambo Valley Struggle Against Copper Extraction and State Terrorism
5. Trapped in the Grid in Southern France and Iberia: Energy Infrastructure and the Fight Against Green Capitalism
6. When Environmentalism is Ecocide: Open-Pit Lithium Mine in Portugal 
Conclusion: Fighting to Win

Published by Pluto Press in Mar 2024
Paperback ISBN: 9780745348827
eBook ISBN: 9780745348841

140mm x 216mm