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Green Is the New Red: An Insider's Account of a Social Movement Under Siege
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Green Is the New Red: An Insider's Account of a Social Movement Under Siege

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4.34  ·  Rating details ·  700 ratings  ·  93 reviews
At a time when everyone is going green, most people are unaware that the FBI is using anti-terrorism resources to target environmentalists and animal rights activists. The courts are being used to push conventional boundaries of what constitutes "terrorism" and to hit nonviolent activists with disproportionate sentences. Some have faced terrorism charges for simply chalkin ...more
Paperback, 302 pages
Published April 12th 2011 by City Lights Publishers
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4.34  · 
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 ·  700 ratings  ·  93 reviews


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"At times, the reader might mistake this work of nonfiction for a gripping crime novel, only to remember that everything in here is shockingly true. It is in this way that Potter effectively drives his points home and proves his overarching thesis, that the Justice Department’s targeting of environmentalists is near identical to 1950s McCarthyism." --Indie Street

"While the link between separating recyclables and hijacking planes is far from obvious, the labeling of 'eco-terrorism' has been appli
...more
Sarahjane
Mar 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book makes me wish I had finished my history PhD. Then at least I could make it required reading for a few college students. It should be required for them all. It gives context to our murky times, where taking moral stands is getting confused with terroristic activity, without oversimplifying what are deeply contested understandings of the path to a better tomorrow. Green is the New Red is an essential text for anyone who believes in free speech, or is interested in the future of American ...more
Scott Rhee
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Will Potter's "Green is the New Red" is an excellent reportage of how our government continues to tread on our individual liberties, especially if you happen to have pro-environmentalist leanings, and even more specifically if you are an activist for animal rights.

Potter admits early on that while he attempts to be objective, this is difficult for him as someone who considers himself an environmentalist and for an incident in which he was involved that was the impetus for the research for this
...more
pattrice
Dec 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Essential information within an always gripping, sometimes humorous, and at times heart-breaking narrative.

Will Potter begins this book by sharing his own experiences with the blood-chilling fear induced by a visit by FBI agents wielding the word "terrorist" after he had been arrested for leafleting in a wealthy neighborhood. He then recounts the investigative journey into "terrorism" that fear prompted him to undertake. Along the way we meet smug judges, altruistic anarchists, power-crazed pro
...more
Dylan
Mar 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All Americans
I hope that this book will be very widely read. Like the revelations of the government's illegal spying, harassment, and bogus convictions that hearings on COINTELPRO brought to light (see Agents of Repression), Potter's research into efforts by industry and government to repress radical environmentalism brings together some poorly understood political issues. Most important of them all, is the fact that activists using traditionally legal tactics have now been convicted on terrorism charges.

I w
...more
Joseph
Mar 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
just about to finish reading for the second time.

this book is an excellent expose on the use of fear tactics by the federal government in the wake of 9/11. not just in the area of political dissent, but economic, as well.

moving from history to current events to psychological thriler, Will Potter weaves an engaging story of the dissolution of legitimate freedom of expression by the powers that be, all to prop up a decaying economic/political system. the lesson here is that no one who believes thi
...more
Sharlyn
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: anarchism, law-things
It's a little embarrassing to admit it took me this long to finally read Green is the New Red, but it didn't disappoint! I can't really recommend this book enough, even if you think you're pretty familiar with the arguments it is going to make. It's just a really thorough, brilliant, and enjoyable read. (PS: Please double the fervor of this if you're a law student who does civil liberties stuff but isn't familiar with the repression directed at environmental or animal rights movements.)
Tinea
Jun 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: activists.
[I won a free copy of this book]

First off, hoorah for this book and Will Potter's reporting. This is a critical living history, a first attempt to pull the last decade of eco and animal rights action and repression into one cohesive analysis. Read it for the narrative. Read it for the names and the individual stories, the Green Scare and particularly the Operation Backfire and SHAC7 defendants; for the explanation of US policy and lobbying record; for the breakdown of legal jargon; for the synth
...more
McGrouchpants, Ltd.
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The "terrorism enchancement" is what it's called, post-9/11: the weighing of crimes with additional consequence, to increase sentencing.

In a manner that should surprise no-one, Christian fundamentalists, murderers of abortion doctors, and other racist-and-other-sorts who've shouted at every available opportunity of their intent to harm others have somehow miraculously eluded this classification, while so-designated "eco-terrorists" have fallen under this rubric, since their intent to damage prop
...more
Jason
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it
A good book. I think the value of this book was its humanization and personalization of a step-by-step account (almost like a journal) of the arrest, repression, trial, and imprisonment of some of the higher profile animal rights and environment activists in recent years in the United States. The reader will get to know the people, as people, who could not just sit and watch as enormous injustices and devastation was constantly happening by corporations and the government. They were compelled to ...more
Josh
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Josh by: A friend
"Although there have been times when activists themselves have made this Green Scare easier, they have not created it: it exists not because of the nature of their words or their actions, but because these movements have grown increasingly effective and accepted. The only way to explain the conflation of mainstream and radical groups as terrorists is to assume that all of it - from ballot initiatives to sabotage - poses a threat."

This paragraph, taken from the last chapater of the book, sums up
...more
Meghan
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Traces the history of environmental activism and the ways in which activists have been targeted by the FBI in ways similar to COINTELPRO in the 1960s. Potter details the amount of resources devoted to fighting animal activists and the Earth Liberation Front as the number-one domestic terrorism threat - pure insanity. And don't we all love it when undercover FBI agents infiltrate vegan potlucks and try to incite some violence? This book makes me so upset.
Nadia
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A highly insightful and interesting account of the Animal Rights/Environmental Activists Movement under siege in America by a journalist who was part of it. Highly recommended read. You will not be disappointed by the story. For those who know philosophy, Plato's allegory of the cave is mentioned in the book.
Gemini
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was so amazing, not just well written but the story itself. I didn't want to put the book down. I was glad to have been able to hear Will Potter speak when he came to Harvard University. I remember parts of this story but didn't really get the scoop of what happened until a friend told me. I was outraged. I just couldn't believe what had happened. After AETA (Animal Enterprise Terrorist Act) passed people didn't realize what that meant & how it was going to effect them. A ...more
Erin
Mar 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Erin by: City Lights
I've been remiss. I finished this book just before I left for Peru and despite managing to write a review I never posted it. In the interest of full disclosure I received this book from the Good Reads' giveaway program. Regardless, it has landed on my essential reading shelf for a number of reasons.

Maybe you were in a neighborhood where Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) put up posters. Even now, I remember them vividly - charges that they killed puppies. As a jaded teenager, I never paid muc
...more
Meghan Fidler
Feb 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is terrifying. Will Potter does an excellent job tracing historical protests, new laws, and legal precedent to explain how environmental activism has become labeled under 'terrorist' activities. Interviewing key activists who were prosecuted as 'eco-terrorists,' the story is meant to incite people into action--as it should.
I do find the description of the activities that were prosecuted a bit skewed: Potter appears to be trying to attempt an almost neutral presentation. Sometimes no added
...more
Lisa
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book to everyone, whether you're an environmental and animal activist or not. Will Potter's exhaustive but very readable account of the ethically-challenged to downright illegal actions the US government and agencies like the FBI have taken to cast these activists as the #1 domestic terrorist threat in the country should open eyes to corporate and industry power to enact ridiculous anti-terrorism legislation and redefine the First Amendment to suit their agenda.

"They came
...more
Harrison Jones
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Harrison Jones
Waldorf 2
ELA 11
20 October 2015
Green Is The New Red Quote Sandwich Review
In Green Is The New Red Daniel McGowan is a strong willed activist, but is also cognisant of his personal well being. While he was on trial for terrorism for the arson of a logging company, and an SUV dealership he says “I hope that you will see that my actions were not those of a terrorist but those of a concerned young person who was deeply troubled by the destruction of Oregon’s forests” (Potter 79). He too
...more
Errica
Jun 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Will Potter has explained the attacks on animal/environmental rights activists in a thorough, thought provoking, enraging and inspiring way. His explanations and accounts of the Animal Enterprise Terrorist Act and its subsequent use in the American judicial system is amazing. To know that there is no official definition of the term "terrorism" in the government is frightening as it is now so freely applied to anyone who leaflets or joins in a protest for the rights of animals or the environment. ...more
Dayton
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Green is the new red, terrorism is the new communism (when it comes to civil liberties), and somehow ecoterrorists and animal rights "extremists" are te FBI's number one domestic terror threat. This is a gripping account of surveillance, the perversion of the word "terrorism," and a totally overreaching government crackdown. Regardless of whether you're a bike-riding vegan or not, this is a scary and readable portrait of how little the First Amendment can mean when powerful interests oppose your ...more
Marissa
May 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing


I'm not normally tempted to review books, but I couldn't resist. Potter's analysis of US domestic terrorism laws is fascinating and frightening at the same time. As someone who enjoys exercising her First Amendment rights, I find it horrifying that the government is fabricating more and more excuses to prosecute (harshly) acts once considered legal displays of activism. Not only are activists for the environment and animal-rights being targeted at an alarmingly high rate, they are being labeled
...more
Kathryn
Jun 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Honestly, I just couldn't bring myself to finish it. It seems like it's arguing against itself! "No deaths have been caused by so-called ecoterrorists"... "self proclaimed ecoterrorists sell high profile woman's worn underwear on eBay and promise her every bidder gets her home address"... I wanted to be on the side of the misunderstood environmental freedom fighter, but the book honestly makes me more apprehensive about signing up or joining any rallies or walks or talks. Seriously. I'm supposed ...more
xDEAD ENDx
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
It's funny writing a review on a book about surveillance without becoming paranoid when wanting to discuss allegiances.

I liked this book. The writing was good and the story was exciting (and, of course, sad and depressing), but I'm not so sure about framing it within the sphere of constitutional rights. So many of the characters are uninterested in laws and rights, so what's the point? It seems a little dishonest to pose things in this way, especially after the trials are over and many of the se
...more
Howard
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
if you would like to read about the inner workings of the people who go after environmentalists to further their own greed, this is the book. it is quite shocking at the lengths big ag, big pharma, the lumber and medical companies and others with vested interests will go in terms of trying to pass legislation and lobbying politicos in order to continue to torture helpless animals and rape and poison the landscape for their own financial gains.
this is at the heart of OWS in all it's meanings and
...more
Jonagain Offagain
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Everyone ought to dig into the plot of this story. I cannot express enough appreciation for Will Potter and those who helped him publish it, moreover for those whose political activism has meant not only the loss of their liberty, but their designation as "domestic terrorists," increasing the severity of their punishment due to the political motivation for their alleged crimes. Most of those who were given the federal terrorism enhancement, stiffening the penalties, were convicted of civil disob ...more
Laura
Jul 15, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is on an undeniably fascinating and important topic (the equating of animal rights and environmental activism with terrorism by the US government). It's too bad it's written in such a jumbled, confusing style. I found the thread of the narrative difficult to follow. Sections seemed to come in random order. The author goes off on tangents, then returns to follow a particular activist, the details about whom I'd already forgotten. All of this unfortunately lessens the impact of the conte ...more
C M
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Green Is the New Red" is far and away the best account of the way members of the radical environmental and animal rights movements in the US are confronted with increasing state repression. While Potter is an open sympathizer and active participant in the movement, and his writing is engaged and supportive, his analysis is well-substantiated and his conclusions sound. Consequently, I have no problem using this book for my academic work. At the same time, it is written for a non-academic audienc ...more
Ben Striz
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding. Maddening. Revealing and upsetting. Green is the New Red blends scholastic research and stats with real life stories of how the US Government manipulates legislation to aid corporate greed. Will Potter, who has felt the effects of the government's efforts to criminalize activism, is the perfect person to outline the steps taken to control the minds of the American people and protect the profits of the corporations who control the minds of our elected leaders in Washington. Please re ...more
Easter
Jun 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent look at the corporate interests that have conspired to define environmental and animal rights activists as terrorists.
It is sobering to realize that the FBI's focus on animal/environment activists has taken away resources from investigations of white supremacists, anti-abortionists and even the white collar fraud that caused the mortgage collapse.

The beginning of the book struggles to establish itself. However, once it finds its groove, the book flows and sucks you in.
This is a must
...more
Taryn
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very well written and easy to follow. Will Potter clearly explains what is happening to activists through first-hand experience as well as through the experiences of others as they are being targeted by corporations. I would highly recommend this book. I read it for a University class and we had the opportunity to Skype with Will Potter who was more than willing to answer our questions and tell us about his experiences.
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Will Potter is an award-winning investigative journalist and author based in Washington, D.C. He specializes in the animal rights and environmental movements, and civil liberties post-9/11. His work has been featured in the world’s top media outlets, including the Washington Post, National Geographic, and Rolling Stone. He has testified before the U.S. Congress as the only witness opposing the Ani ...more
“Vegans have a way of circling every conversation back to food, much like born-again Christians have a way of returning every conversation to the scripture.” 3 likes
“Abbey's work inspired a quickly maturing environmental movement and threw some dynamite on Rachel Carson's fire. As he later wrote, 'Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.” 0 likes
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