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Joshua Kahn Russell


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Joshua Kahn Russell is a social movement facilitator who has trained thousands of activists across the globe. He is a core trainer with The Wildfire Project, and facilitator/action-coordinator with the Ruckus Society. Most recently, Joshua managed the Global Training Program at 350.org. He has helped campaigns win against banks, oil companies, logging corporations, and coal barons; worked with a wide variety of groups in a breadth of arenas, from local resiliency projects, to national coalitions, to the United Nations Climate Negotiations. He has spent the last 17 years as an organizer, campaign strategist, and non-violent direct action coordinator. He has written and co-edited numerous books and manuals, most recently A Line In The Tar Sands: Struggles for Environmental Justice (PM & Between the Lines Press 2014), Beautiful Trouble with Andrew Boyd (O/R Press 2012), and Organizing Cools the Planet: Tools and Reflections to Navigate the Climate Crisis, with Hilary Moore (PM Press 2011).  You can see his other publications on his blog www.praxismakesperfect.org and you can follow him on Twitter at @joshkahnrussell

 

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A Line in the Tar Sands: Struggles for Enviornmental Justice
Editors: Joshua Kahn Russell, Stephen D'Arcy, Tony Weis, Toban Black • Foreword by Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-62963-039-7
Published: 09/01/2014
Format: Paperback
Size: 9x6
Page count: 384
Subjects: Politics-Activism/Nature-Environment
$24.95


The fight over the tar sands in North America is among the epic environmental and social justice battles of our time, and one of the first that has managed to quite explicitly marry concern for frontline communities and immediate local hazards with fear for the future of the entire planet.

Tar sands “development” comes with an enormous environmental and human cost. But tar sands opponents—fighting a powerful international industry—are likened to terrorists, government environmental scientists are muzzled, and public hearings are concealed and rushed.

Yet, despite the formidable political and economic power behind the tar sands, many opponents are actively building international networks of resistance, challenging pipeline plans while resisting threats to Indigenous sovereignty and democratic participation. Including leading voices involved in the struggle against the tar sands, A Line in the Tar Sands offers a critical analysis of the impact of the tar sands and the challenges opponents face in their efforts to organize effective resistance.

Contributors include: Angela Carter, Bill McKibben, Brian Tokar, Christine Leclerc, Clayton Thomas-Muller, Crystal Lameman, Dave Vasey, Emily Coats, Eriel Deranger, Greg Albo, Jeremy Brecher, Jess Worth, Jesse Cardinal, Joshua Kahn Russell, Lilian Yap, Linda Capato, Macdonald Stainsby, Martin Lukacs, Matt Leonard, Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Naomi Klein, Rae Breaux, Randolph Haluza-DeLay, Rex Weyler, Ryan Katz-Rosene, Sâkihitowin Awâsis, Sonia Grant, Stephen D’Arcy, Toban Black, Tony Weiss, Tyler McCreary, Winona LaDuke, and Yves Engler.

Praise:

“The tar sands has become a key front in the fight against climate change, and the fight for a better future, and it’s hard to overstate the importance of the struggles it has inspired.”
—Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben

On Stephen D’Arcy’s Languages of the Unheard:
“This is a brilliant book. It brings much needed clarity to the most pressing question of our time: the nature and use of militancy in the pursuit of justice and political change. Stephen D’Arcy cuts through the rhetorical fog of the right and the left and forces us to face issues of strategy and tactics and goals head on, with both reason and passion.”
—Mark Leier, author of Bakunin: The Creative Passion

On Stephen D’Arcy’s Languages of the Unheard:
Languages of the Unheard illuminates a fundamental truth far too many of those who flatter themselves to believe they inhabit democratic societies wish at all costs to avoid: Those who refuse by all necessary means to be silenced are the essential ingredient of democracy while those who seek to repress them comprise its very antithesis.”
—Ward Churchill, author, Pacifism as Pathology

On Joshua Kahn Russell's Organizing Cools the Planet:
Organizing Cools the Planet offers some of the most engaged and original thinking about the dynamics of social movement organizing that we have seen in a long time. It urges all of us to reach beyond the limitations of often-insular activist networks and create genuinely collaborative relationships across barriers of age, race and class.”
—Brian Tokar, ZNet

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Organizing Cools the Planet: Tools and Reflections to Navigate the Climate Crisis
Author: Joshua Kahn Russell and Hilary Moore
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-60486-443-4
Published: September 2011
Format: Pamphlet
Size: 8.5 by 5.5
Page count: 64 Pages
Subjects: Activism, Current Events
$6.95

Organizing Cools The Planet offers a challenge to all concerned about the ecological crisis: find your frontline. This booklet weaves together stories, analysis, organizing tools, and provocative questions, to offer a snapshot of the North American Climate Justice movement and provide pathways for readers to participate in it. Authors share hard lessons learned, reflect on strategy, and grapple with the challenges of their roles as organizers who do not come from “frontline communities” but work to build a movement big enough for everyone and led by the priorities and solutions of low-income people, communities of color, Indigenous, youth, and other constituencies most directly impacted by the crisis. Rooted in the authors’ experiences organizing in local, national, and international arenas, they challenge readers to look at the scale of ecological collapse with open eyes, without falling prey to disempowering doomsday narratives. This booklet is for anyone who wants to build a movement with the resiliency to navigate one of the most rapid transitions in human history.

Praise:

"This booklet comes from people who do what they’re talking about, and do it well. If we’ve got a hope, it lies in organizing–in reaching ever broader circles of our civilization and getting people to take action in their common interest. If you want to be a part of that, this guide is a good place to start."
— Bill McKibben

"There is no task more urgent than to organize a mass popular movement to deal effectively with the looming environmental crisis. The barriers are high, the forces opposed powerful. All the more reason to dedicate ourselves to the kinds of efforts outlined Joshua Kahn Russell and Hilary Moore's booklet." —Noam Chomsky

"In an atmosphere heavy with doomsday predictions and fear, this pamphlet is a breath of fresh air. Joshua Kahn Russell and Hilary Moore weave together stories and organizing tools to create a vision for practical transition amid the climate crisis. Organizing Cools the Planet confronts pressing questions of our time." —Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Founding Director, Indigenous World Association

"Joshua and Hilary's manual will be useful to all who want to make change creatively and peacefully in our brutal times." —Dr. Vandana Shiva

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What Others are Saying



tarA Line in the Tar Sands: A Review
By Sasha
Earth First! Newswire
March 3rd, 2015

"... For this reason, it is imperative that people arm themselves with the truth, and the new book, A Line in the Tar Sands (PM Press 2014) will help anybody who wants to learn figure out the keys to unlocking the problems of the tar sands and different strategies and tactics activists have used to achieve some degree of success.

The editors Tony Weis, Toban Black, Stephen D’Arcy, and Joshua Kahn Russell, do a great job of intertwining the different narratives of struggle pertaining to the problem in all its magnitude without allowing the work to get bogged down in a pessimism that stifles direct action. With NASA continuing to warn the world of impending doom, drought imperiling lives from Brazil to California, and all prospects looking bleak, A Line in the Tar Sands provides some hope that cultures of resistance, grassroots activism, and conscious militancy will prevail..."

tarA Line in the Tar Sands: A Review
Publishers Weekly
February 2015

Academics, environmental scientists, and climate-change activists from across North America rail against the extraction of tar sands in Alberta, Canada, and controversial developments such as the Keystone XL pipeline, in this collection of pointed essays. It’s a fight that Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben here call one of “the epic environmental and social justice battles of our time,” and the variety of perspectives gives the collection comprehensive insight and broad appeal. The book’s tone is intense and emphatic. Extracting tar sands from the Athabasca River Basin in western Canada, the authors say, destroys the environment, affecting huge portions of boreal forest and numerous animal habitats. The essays also make clear how extraction practices have the potential to create an ecological wasteland reminiscent of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Mordor, threatening “the homelands of Cree, Dene, and Metis peoples.” Similarly, transporting crude oil to faraway refineries through a network of pipelines also poses significant health risks: local communities see elevated rates of cancers and respiratory illnesses due to air-quality issues and water contamination. Though these sorts of projections seem stark, apocalyptic, and stomach-turning, the worries are legitimate and give this volume substance and urgency.

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tarWhy we need to win the battle over the tar sands
By Brad Hornick
Rabble.ca
October 2nd, 2014

As if responding to this desperate need to hurry the inauguration of a new historical era, Stephen D'Arcy, Toban Black, Tony Weis and Joshua Kahn Russell, editors of A Line in the Tar Sands, bring together the voices of activists and academics to argue "peoples' movements will either succeed in transforming our economic and political systems to build a new world, or we will burn with the old one."

This argument, cemented by Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben stating "the fight over the tar sands is among the epic environmental and social justice battles of our time" in the opening pages, suggests the very active tar sands struggle is no less than a life-and-death battle for the future of the planet.

It is a battle that pits these peoples' movement against the largest and most destructive industrial project -- a project driven by the big the most profitable and powerful transnational energy corporations: ExxonMobile, British Petroleum, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, Sinopec.

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tarA Line in the Tar Sands: Excerpt
Socialist Project
November 10th, 2014

Of all possible futures, the least likely is one in which business as usual continues unabated. Peoples’ movements will either succeed in transforming our economic and political systems to build a new world, or we will burn with the old one.

Our title invokes a metaphor of uncompromising resistance because the tar sands are an environmental injustice of the highest order. A ‘Line in the Sand’ means: it has gone this far, but no further. We are confronting an industry that is worth trillions of dollars, and is driven by some of the largest corporations on Earth, which have no goals that are any nobler than maximizing short-term profits and growth. The fight to stop this industry is clearly one of the epic challenges of our age, and only serious and sustained mobilization can turn the tide.

cools the planetOrganizing Cools the Planet: Tools and Reflections to Navigate the Climate Crisis
by Brian Tokar
Znet
October 15, 2011

Hilary Moore and Joshua Kahn-Russell’s new booklet, Organizing Cools the Planet, recounts those experiences, and offers some of the most engaged and original thinking about the dynamics of social movement organizing that we have seen in a long time. It urges all of us to reach beyond the limitations of often-insular activist networks and create genuinely collaborative relationships across barriers of age, race and class.

In an insightful, but also very accessible and conversational manner, the authors challenge our understanding of alliance-building, collaboration, and our accountability to the communities most affected by environmental problems. They urge us to act, not out of guilt or ideological fervor, but out of genuine solidarity and engaged relationships of trust, and offer numerous helpful tools to encourage our thinking and activist praxis toward that goal.

 

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