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100 Ways To Undermine The Machine

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goodbye machine

NOTE: This essay was the inspiration for the book Underminers.


It takes guts to do something that could change things forever. I'm not the obvious candidate to be a hero, that's a fact; I have children and a wife, and an extended family that mean the world to me. Heroes, for the most part, are seen as those people who, at great risk to themselves, carry out noteworthy acts -- but why does heroism have to go hand-in-hand with great risk?

There is no greater thing that can be done than securing the future of humanity, and in this truly momentous task I believe that everyone has the potential to be a hero. There are many actions available to people of all different abilities, social positions, locations and ages that, together can help free humanity from the terrible yoke of hierarchical, industrial, consumerist living; many actions that entail a wide range of risk and effectiveness, but all of which are important.

At this point it's necessary for me to lose the majority of my readers, for the things I am about to share with you are likely to contribute to the downfall of Industrial Civilization -- the "machine" of the title. If this idea scares you then you will not be alone, for the thought of losing something you feel is integral to what you are (in effect, being a citizen) is not something that most of us have ever seriously considered. But lose it we must: read this article to find out why.

To get the full picture you'll really need to go to my book, "A Matter of Scale" (also published as "Time's Up! An Uncivilized Solution To A Global Crisis"), and read Chapter 13. If you need further convincing, have a look at Derrick Jensen's "Endgame" books or, for a more concise read, try "A Short History of Progress" by Ronald Wright. Come back when you are happy to help with the removal of the Machine. For those who are still reading: welcome, let's do some Undermining.

What Is Undermining?

Undermining is the term for any form of Sabotage that damages the foundations of a system, structure or process. The target, as we know, is Industrial Civilization -- the most destructive human system ever created.

Specifically, the act of Undermining Industrial Civilization seeks to provide ordinary people with the ability to think and act in an unconstrained environment, free of the Tools of Disconnection that civilization has put in place to keep us physically and psychologically dependent upon it. By Undermining Industrial Civilization, you are not aiming to directly damage its physical structure -- although that may be a side-effect -- instead you are impairing its ability to control people. People who are no longer controlled can decide for themselves how they want to live.

The aim is not so much destroying as dismantling the Machine, starving it of energy and making it unable to keep us living the destructive way of life we have come to think is the only way to live.

Undermining has rules attached to it; rules that help ensure that the perpetrator is kept relatively safe, and their (your) actions are as effective as possible. It is vital that you follow these rules for your safety, and that of other people:

1. Make the Tools of Disconnection (see Chapter 13, as above) your priority; anything else is a waste of time and effort.

2. Carefully weigh up all the pros and cons, and then ask yourself, "Do the benefits far outweigh the costs?" Only act if the answer is "Yes".

3. Plan ahead, and plan well, accounting for every possible eventuality.

4. Even if you value the worth of your actions, don't get caught.

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Keith Farnish is a writer, volunteer and activist who, in a former life, was economically viable. He lives in Southern Scotland with his wife and two children, making, growing, organising, listening, talking and being.

He has been involved in environmental issues for many years, initially specialising in energy supply, transport and climate change, and now as a campaigner against the system we call Industrial Civilization. He is continually striving to minimise his impact on the natural world but, more importantly, accepts that what we now take for granted will no longer be around (more...)

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I'm excited to post, with Keith Farnish's permissi... by Rob Kall on Thursday, Nov 14, 2013 at 9:34:29 AM
AKA "Monkey Wrenching" [I think.]- Quit watching t... by mrk * on Thursday, Nov 14, 2013 at 11:25:11 AM
So you favour anarchy?  The Law of the Jungle... by Don Meister on Thursday, Nov 14, 2013 at 2:29:17 PM
 Sir, Which movement are you referring to, pl... by Ad Du on Thursday, Nov 14, 2013 at 2:49:12 PM
Sir,  I wish I knew (without asking, which I'... by Ad Du on Thursday, Nov 14, 2013 at 2:43:32 PM
It's about time we all take part in spreading the ... by cristy razzano on Thursday, Nov 14, 2013 at 3:09:20 PM
I made a quick scan of this article and some of yo... by Philip Dennany on Thursday, Nov 14, 2013 at 3:39:51 PM
If you're a male, get a vasectomy. Encourage other... by Daniel Geery on Thursday, Nov 14, 2013 at 6:05:05 PM
I skimmed the long article, and concluded that his... by Jerry Wesner on Thursday, Nov 14, 2013 at 6:21:04 PM
Hi Jerry, I didn't state any Utopia - I simply wan... by Keith Farnish on Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 4:10:53 AM
Kieth, I'm sorry that you are so darned angry... by Gerald Wilhite on Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 8:17:46 PM
1. Criminal activity is never appropriate.2. Not v... by Jonathan Huie on Thursday, Nov 14, 2013 at 7:11:45 PM
Jonathan: 1. If a law exists that harms people or,... by Keith Farnish on Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 4:09:57 AM
The system will not change if only the followers o... by Sorgfelt on Saturday, Nov 16, 2013 at 7:45:33 PM
If civilization as we know it is bound to collapse... by Ralph Dratman on Thursday, Nov 14, 2013 at 9:21:20 PM
Thanks everyone for the great comments. I encourag... by Keith Farnish on Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 4:08:07 AM
Hi Dan, I did :)"RMI advances market-based solutio... by Keith Farnish on Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 4:16:22 AM
Thanks for the great article, Keith.  As I re... by Burl Hall on Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 5:27:11 AM
this is basically a list of childish pranks, which... by siamdave on Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 5:39:06 AM
So, Dave, what you're saying is create a revolutio... by Keith Farnish on Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 1:54:21 PM
One certain way to knock the foundations right out... by R. A. Landbeck on Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 10:10:23 AM
It looks like an exhortation to praise the Christi... by Keith Farnish on Saturday, Nov 16, 2013 at 2:40:38 AM
"The acts of civil disobedience and direct action... by Marianne Hoynes on Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 12:40:35 PM
"Welcome to the Machine"... by Paul Solger on Friday, Nov 15, 2013 at 4:49:55 PM