Green Is the New Red

What is it like to be on the FBI’s domestic terrorism watch list? How did you end up on that list? …perhaps it was your art, your advocacy, an email you wrote, or something as simple as sitting with the wrong group of folks at a coffee house in college. What some environmental advocates have labeled “The Green Scare” is a throw back to the domestic repression of the McCarthy era. It’s an analogy that just like the during the Red Scare special interests with influence on government are once again slinging muddy household buzzwords to slander, blacklist, and chill contemporary social movements. Scratch the label “communist” and replace it with “terrorist,” scratch the name Joe McCarthy and replace it with James Inhoff, and you get a new era of old tricks enhanced by fresh technology. Green Is the New Red: An Insider’s Account of A Social Movement Under Siege shows these old fashioned tactical models of repression are less about stopping the criminal activity of individuals as they are more about chilling mainstream justice movements that challenge the baseline of American comfort and the big businesses that sell comforting products.

“Here comes the future and you can’t run from it. If you’ve got a blacklist I want to be on it” — Billy Bragg

Instead of presenting a detailed case study into the federal repression of animal and earth liberation activists, designer statutes, and draconian investigative grand jury probes, Will Potter decides to take us on an intimate journey along with the individuals most effected within these movements under siege. From the book’s opening in the Willamette National Forest 24 hours before environmental activist Daniel McGowan is set to be sentenced, to the sentencing, incarceration, and eventual release of the SHAC7, to the later arrest and persecution of environmental activist Tim DeChristopher, Potter brings us into the personal lives of the movement’s figures, shows us how they fight, shows us how some find a way to laugh even when everything is going wrong, and shows us how some decompress and move on with their lives after years of incarceration, some spent in solitary confinement.

“Part history, part action thriller and courtroom drama, part memoir, Green Is the New Red plunges us into the wild, unruly, and entirely inspirational world of extreme environmental activism. Will Potter, participant-observer and partisan-reporter, is the perfect guide… Green Is the New Red is an indispensable book that will change the way we think about commitment, the limits of protest, and the possibility of radical change.” – Bill Ayers

In the troubled wake of the recent conviction of climate change activist Tim DeChristopher, Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the SHAC7 appeal, and the recent relocation of Daniel McGowan to the federal Communications Management Unit in Terre Haute, Indiana, (a secretive prison recently investigated in a 2-part NPR expose entitled ‘Guantanamo North’) Will Potter’s Green Is the New Red helps us make sense of systems of oppression by letting us see through the eyes of the individuals most effected.

Brilliantly written, meticulously accurate, and deeply emotional, Green Is the New Red is a collection of intimately personal stories of activists that every-day Americans need to hear, without these accounts the draconian chapters in U.S. history filled with senate hearings and blacklists are doomed to repeat themselves …repetitions like these, we as a nation cannot afford.

Green Is the New Red will be available in April, 2011 from City Lights Publishers and is currently available for pre-order through the City Lights Website or

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