Verso Books, a self-described “radical publishing house,” was not accustomed to getting airtime on major U.S. television networks — or at least it wasn’t until it published Andreas Malm’s How to Blow Up a Pipeline in 2021. With a punchy argument that property destruction is justified in the face of an ever-worsening climate crisis and a provocative title (the book does not include any practical instructions), Malm found himself at the center of mainstream political discourse.
It’s not that activists should abandon mass action and civil disobedience as tactics in the fight against fossil fuel development, the Swedish academic argues. He just thinks they need to expand their toolbox. In the book, Malm describes taking part in numerous demonstrations over the past several decades, including one at the first annual United Nations climate summit in 1995. Since then, the U.S. has added more than 800,000 miles of fossil fuel pipelines, and Germany has continued to excavate almost 200 million tons of extremely polluting brown coal each year. Clearly, he concludes, blocking intersections and playing dead at ... Read more