The Deep Adaptation Forum (DAF) is committed to non-violent means of seeking social and political change in a context of societal disruption and collapse.
Non-violent action uses symbolic protests, non-cooperation, and defiance, but never physical violence. Three broad classes of non-violent action include:
1. Non-violent protest and persuasion,
2. Non-cooperation, and
3. Non-violent intervention.
DAF will never endorse or condone people or groups who either advocate or tolerate the use of physically violent tactics in the pursuit of social and political change, or as a direct response to, or in preparation for, climate-induced collapse. Violent means are incompatible with peaceful ends, and are completely in opposition to DAF’s mission to enable loving responses to our predicament. History shows us that, no matter what explanations or justifications are offered, violence begets more violence.
In only supporting non-violent action, DAF strives to align ourselves with established international principles, frameworks and leaders for non-violence including:
This principle does not mean members in DAF are all pacifists who believe that there are no reasons for the use of physical violence as self-defence in certain situations. Some people in the Deep Adaptation field and in the DAF itself do believe in non-violence in a broader sense that includes such pacifism, but it also includes people who do not. Therefore, we anticipate meaningful discussions in the coming months and years about how deep and wide a coherent principle of non-violence could go. And yet, while conversations about this topic may occur, DAF will never endorse or condone the use of violence if there is any sense that it is not for immediate self-defence.
We actively resist narratives suggesting that we have reached a stage where our collective self-defense against the threats to our collective survival mean that physical violence becomes necessary, tolerable, or justifiable, as in the case of some eco-fascist responses to climate breakdown appearing across the political spectrum. These frame the climate crisis in racist and xenophobic terms, tolerating or even calling for genocide as a realistic or desirable environmentalist solution.
Many people in the Deep Adaptation movement are on a journey of inquiry into non-violence as a philosophy and outlook. We recognise that violence is in every one of us, because it runs through the very structure and narratives of our societies – and even in the very language we use. To us, this calls for a sustained and unflinching investigation into the many deep ways in which our systems of exploitation and oppression are perpetuated by us as individuals and social groups, unconsciously.
The philosophy of non-violence can help inform the way we relate to each other in communication, action, and inaction. That’s why DAF will continue to be a space where people are invited to continuously discover and rediscover how our ways of relating – characterised by assumptions of separation and scarcity – can contribute to othering, diminishing, and harming people, as well as the non-human world.
Deep Adaptation is a concept that is not owned by anyone, including either its originator nor DAF. People and groups of people around the world are coming together to respond to or prepare for disruption or collapse and are finding the idea and framework of Deep Adaptation helpful. Some such groups, which identify as or associate themselves with Deep Adaptation, may be in areas where there are or will be high-intensity struggles, and where physical violence is used as one tactic for self-defense and possibly for social or political change. We will not engage or support such groups.
As the generally accepted social structures that prevail in societies worldwide are likely to become increasingly disrupted and disruptive over the coming months and years, we are now making this position public, as well as the following commitments to uphold this position:
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