Emma Mawdsley, After Chipko, 1998

From Environment to Region in Uttaranchal


Although the Chipko movement is practically non-existent in its region of origin it remains one of the most frequently deployed examples of an environmental and/or a women’s movement in the South. A small but growing number of commentators are now critiquing much neopopulist theorising on Chipko, and this article provides an overview of these critiques. It then takes the debate further with reference to a more recent regional movement in the hills. By doing so, the author argues that it is possible to develop a more plausible account of gender, environment and the state in the Uttaranchal region, and illustrate common weaknesses in neopopulist understandings of Chipko and other social movements in the South. Lire la suite »


Pandurang Hegde, Chipko and Appiko, 1988

how the people save the trees




  1. The Legend
  2. From Legend to Reality
  3. The Growth and Development of the Movement
  4. From Chipko to Appiko
  5. An Overall Assessment

Short Glossary


Map Inside back cover [Comming soon as possible!]

[original booklet of 48 p. with 9 photo and a map of India]


Chipko and Appiko are finding their rightful place in the modern annals of nonviolent action. The purpose of QPS’ Nonviolence in Action series is both to inform and inspire those who wish to develop positive alternatives to violence and we believe that the story told by Pandurang Hegde has the power to do so. The Right Livelihood Foundation made an award to the Chipko Movement in December 1987, and we hope that this will increase international interest and recognition still further.

Pandurang Hegde is a personal friend. We worked together on a project in central India. I have watched his development from an able and highly motivated post-graduate to a committed activist. He rejected “the professional approach to rural development” and took the courageous route which starts with “unemployment”. He also took his critical faculties with him.

I asked Pandurang to reflect on the extent to which Chipko had spread in India, to explain its nonviolent methodology and the tensions within the movement, to comment on its class basis and the gender issues. He has done so, and much more. Many of the incidents which he records are unknown outside a very small circle.

We have had to perform our editorial tasks with an author who was last in contact with us several months ago, prior to setting off on a “long forest march” to the source of the Kali Nadi river in south India. We pray that QPS has done justice to his manuscript and brought to life the wonderful human endeavour which it so honestly reviews.

General Secretary
Quaker Peace & ServiceLire la suite »

David Watson, “Soon To Be Picturesque Ruins!”, 2020

On the passage of a very large number of people through a brief bottleneck in time

Recently I was invited to comment on “collapsology.” It was the first I had heard the term. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that mass society’s tendency to baroque proliferation, and capitalism’s tendency to turn everything into commerce, would leverage widespread anxieties about social collapse and even potential human extinction into fodder for an academic discipline, literary fashion, YouTube jeremiads, experiential retreats, and consulting businesses. “Seems / everybody’s having them dreams,” Dylan once put it. And since anyone who takes up the subject of the current peril could be called a collapsologue, I must be one, too. Lire la suite »

Edward P. Thompson, William Morris, 1959

I have in no way altered my opinion that if we are to acknowledge William Morris as one of the greatest of Englishmen it is not because he was, by fits and starts, a good poet; nor because of his influence upon typography; nor because of his high craftsmanship in the decorative arts; nor because he was a practical socialist pioneer; nor, indeed, because he was all these; but because of a quality which permeates all these activities and which gives to them a certain unity. Lire la suite »

Miguel Amorós, Masses, partocracy and fascism, 2013

The topic of partocracy has not been studied seriously by either academic sociology or the “anti-fascist” critique of modern parliamentarism, despite the fact that the crisis of the self-proclaimed democratic regimes has revealed its specific reality as an authoritarian system with liberal appearances where the parties, and especially their leaderships, abrogate the representation of the popular will in order to legitimize their actions and their excesses in defense of their particular interests. Nor should this fact be at all surprising, since the same thing happened in the party bureaucracy in the Stalinist and fascist regimes: the political class moulded by the partocracy exists to the extent that it conceals its existence as a class. As Debord pointed out, “the ideological lie at its origin can never be revealed”. Its existence as a class depends on the monopoly of ideology, Leninist or fascist in the one case, democratic in the other. While the bureaucratic class of State Capitalism dissimulated its exploitative class function by presenting itself as the “party of the proletariat” or the “party of the nation and the race”, the partocratic class of market capitalism does so by presenting itself as the “representative of millions of voters”, and thus, if the bureaucratic dictatorship was “real socialism”, the partocratic usurpation of popular sovereignty is “real democracy”. The former attempted to reinforce its position with an abundance of ritual spectacles and sacrifices; the latter has attempted to do so with an abundance of houses and the credit with which they can be bought. Both have failed. Lire la suite »

Los amigos de Ludd, Critique of the Happy New World That is Coming, 2002

A Self-Interview with Los amigos de Ludd

Question: What does the reference to Ludd and luddites entail for you?

Answer: The luddites were English workers who become the protagonists of an insurrectional movement between 1811 and 1813 and took action, destroying industrial machinery. They called themselves by the collective name of General Ludd, King Ludd or something of the sort. Currently in the Anglo-Saxon world, it is common for someone who opposes technological progress to be contemptuously tagged with luddism. However, since the 1980’s and 1990’s, there have been many in America who have raised the banner of luddism (with varying rigor, of course). The actions against transgenic cultivation in France, Belgium and the United Kingdom, the sabotage of the high speed train in Italy, the rural occupations in the Spanish state, the peasant resistance movements in Brazil and India, all this is a further sign of a rebellion against a techno-scientific progress that increasingly reveals itself for what it is: the planned strategy of an endless exploitation. To summarize, we can state that for us luddism is an example of active popular opposition to a technology that the industrial tyranny of capitalism wants to impose. Lire la suite »

Shobita Jain, Standing up for trees, 1982

Women’s role in the Chipko Movement

The Chipko Movement has attracted world-wide attention. The image of poor, rural women in the hills of northern India standing with their arms around trees to prevent them being cut down is a romantic and compelling one. The reality, in many ways, fits the image: the Chipko Movement can indeed be considered an important success story in the fight to secure women’s rights, in the process of local community development through forestry and in environmental protection. But there are more complicated implications as well. It is important to understand the history of Chipko and the context in which it arose – and is still evolving.


Since no society is found in a state of perfect structural equilibrium, there are always situations of conflict. Each society, moreover, has institutionalized ways and means of articulating and resolving such conflicts. If a need is felt for altering or transforming structures in a certain fashion, some form of collective mobilization of people and their resources is resorted to; such an activity is given the name of “social movement”. By contrast, there is also sometimes collective resistance to social change. Social movements, in short, can aim at either changing or preserving the way things are – or both. Lire la suite »

Veronika Bennholdt-Thomsen and Maria Mies, Subsistence and globalised economy, 1997

Maria Mies, 2011

Introducing their book The Subsistence Perspective: Beyond the Globalised Economy, Veronika Bennholdt-Thomsen and Maria Mies tell us what they learned from a conversation between women in a Bangladeshi village and Hillary Clinton, which they then use to explain their perspective on subsistence, a perspective “from below”. Here are some excerpts.

A cow for Hillary

In April 1995, some months before the beginning of the UN World Women’s Conference in Beijing, Hillary Clinton, the First Lady of the USA, visited Bangladesh. She had come to find out herself about the success stories of the Grameen Bank projects which were said to have so empowered rural women in Bangladesh. For the Grameen Bank and development agencies, “empowerment of women” means that a woman has an income of her own and that she has some assets. Lire la suite »

Camille Rullán, Se réapproprier la science, 2021

All cultures have creation myths: the book of Genesis, the Rig Veda, Coatlicue or even Manifest Destiny. These stories explain who we are and how we got here, reveal our preferences and prejudices. Western science arose in response to myth to offer us a supposedly value-free, unadulterated view into nature’s inner workings. Like myths, science has its heroes: men (or, mostly men) who, often single-handedly, discover fundamental truths about the universe. Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Einstein—we know who they are. Lire la suite »

Herbert Marcuse, The Realm of Freedom and the Realm of Necessity, 1969

A Reconsideration

I was very happy to hear that my friend Norman Birnbaum in his paper this morning spoke of utopian concepts and of the way in which allegedly utopian concepts were translated into reality, or were at least in the process of being translated into reality by the events of and June in France.

I am equally happy and honored to talk to you in the presence of Ernst Bloch whose work Geist der Utopie, published more than forty years ago, has influenced at my generation, and licks shown how realistic utopian concepts can be, lose to action, how close to practice. Lire la suite »