The science on climate change has been clear for a very long time now. Yet despite decades of appeals, mass street protests, petition campaigns, and peaceful demonstrations, we are still facing a booming fossil fuel industry, rising seas, rising emission levels, and a rising temperature. With the stakes so high, why haven’t we moved beyond peaceful protest?
In this lyrical manifesto, noted climate scholar (and saboteur of SUV tires and coal mines) Andreas Malm makes an impassioned call for the climate movement to escalate its tactics in the face of ecological collapse. We need, he argues, to force fossil fuel extraction to stop—with our actions, with our bodies, and by defusing and destroying its tools. We need, in short, to start blowing up some oil pipelines.
Offering a counter-history of how mass popular change has occurred, from the democratic revolutions overthrowing dictators to the movement against apartheid and for women’s suffrage, Malm argues that the strategic acceptance of property destruction and violence has been the only route for revolutionary change. In a braided narrative that moves from the forests of Germany and the streets of London to the deserts of Iraq, Malm offers us an incisive discussion of the politics and ethics of pacifism and violence, democracy and social change, strategy and tactics, and a movement compelled by both the heart and the mind. Here is how we fight in a world on fire.
“Advocates powerfully against despair and powerlessness.”
“One of the most important things written about the climate crisis.”
“Impossible to dismiss.”
“By ruling out direct action, the climate movement robs itself, in Malm’s view, of its only serious means of leverage.”
“If a livable world requires an all-over transformation, where and when and how do we start? Perhaps with this book, a provocative manifesto from the pioneering theorist of the climate age.”
“Malm [has] captured the rising fury of climate activists.”
“How to Blow Up a Pipeline is a challenge to the left, and an important one.”
“A short and gripping manifesto which aims to wrench the climate movement out of its complacency.”
“A profoundly necessary book.”
“How to Blow Up a Pipeline makes a strong case for looking beyond non-violent activism.”
“Written passionately … Malm argues that it may be too late to avert climate crisis, but it is far from too late to ameliorate suffering.”
“Timely … Malm delivers the essay in his usual lucid and fiery style.”
“Malm offers a critical, passionate and hopeful assessment of where it might go next. Malm’s refreshing humanist ethos combined with his marxist radicalism make him one of the most exciting contemporary writers on the climate crisis, this forceful new entry into his repertoire is no exception, though perhaps a different beast from his more academic work.”
“Refreshing and provoking.”
“A humble and nuanced case … it’s hard to read this book without daydreaming about sabotaging the private jets of the ultra-rich.”
“While the book does not live up to its titular promise of providing instructions to detonate a pipeline, it does make an unflinching case for carrying out such activities in advanced capitalist countries.”
“Malm is right. Shunning all violent acts will only prolong the worst. No new fossil fuel infrastructure can be created, and we need, as a society, to dismantle what we already have.”
“If you want to do something about the climate crisis instead of wallowing in despair, there’s no better place to start than Andreas Malm’s short treatise on the virtues of eco-sabotage. Provides a radical sort of hope.”
“Malm calls for the formation of a radical flank to the popular climate movement...[he] finds the peaceful discipline of the climate movement to be remarkable but stifling in its single mode of action, calling it gentle and mild in the extreme.”