With its roots firmly in the British Earth First! (EF! - radical eco-activists) scene Do or Die has been an incredible source of information and analysis. Containing articles on theory, discussions about practice and accounts of actions as well as reports on various struggles and movements in different parts of the world the magazine has been probably my favourite read of the last few years.
The beauty of Do or Die is that it doesn't fall into any narrow category, it's neither an abstract journal of theory, where various intellectuals throw furniture around their ivory towers, nor is it merely a place to report on events that have taken place. Therefore, actions aren't just publicised, they're discussed, their merits and pitfalls are highlighted and the lessons to be learned are pointed out.
Throughout its history in Britain, Earth First! has developed from a direct action environmental movement into 'a network of revolutionaries'. Do or Die has mirrored this change and its pages have been one of the few places where the effects of change have been articulated and developed. The series does more than just document history, its pages show the different (sometimes contradictory) currents of thought, the events which provoked change and the reasons why certain tendencies or tactics came about.
Coming in at over 380 pages the latest issue is no exception. Contents include a history of EF! In Britain and ideas on how it should develop, accounts of campaigns and resistance movements across Central and South America and beyond, and various debates and articles about the 'scene' in the UK: the advantages and disadvantages of legal and squatted social spaces, campaigns against genetic engineering, peat extraction and animal abusers, the need for prisoner solidarity and a great section on zines. Top this off with articles on Palestine Solidarity, feminist health projects, an introduction to Insurrectionary Anarchism, a sometimes hilarious letters section and more reviews than you can shake a stick at and you have something well worth reading at a very reasonable price.
It's not all perfect however. There's an interview with an activist which focuses on spirituality and another which overly romanticizes the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, both of which I had problems with. There's a couple of other small things but on balance the positives far outweigh the negatives and I'd urge everyone to have a look.
See http://www.eco-action.org/dod for ordering information and online articles.
by Padraic O Sullivan
This edition is No79 published in Jan 2004