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Green is the New Red: An Insider's Account of a Social Movement Under Siege Paperback – April 12, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: City Lights Publishers (April 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 087286538X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872865389
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A thoughtfully alarming examination of the U.S. government's post-9/11 domestic terror probes." 
-- Utne Reader

"A powerful exposé of how civil liberties are being threatened, how big corporations put young activists behind bars." -- Treehugger

"A fascinating book that helps shed some light on how counter-terrorism efforts have eroded constitutional rights and continue to threaten democracy in America."
-- Bill of Rights Defense Committee

"What is so endearing about Green is the New Red is that it's written in the style of a novel, not a reference guidebook, which adds so much more to its credibility. Each chapter brings personal accounts of unfairness and malicious treatment of people who want to get involved with movements that would improve our society. Whether you believe in the methods of these activist groups or not, the facts are glaringly obvious; there is a need for a change in the definition of terrorism and treatment of activists." -- Portland Book Review

"Potter deftly weaves together the political and legislative history of the Green Scare with a personal account... The story he tells is compelling in its narration, shocking and infuriating in its revelations, and ultimately inspiring..." -- Encyclopædia Britannica

"If you’ve ever supported an animal welfare or environmental organization, you too may be a suspected terrorist: That’s the chilling take-away from Green Is the New Red, a thoughtfully alarming examination of the U.S. government’s post-9/11 domestic terror probes, which have inordinately targeted progressive-leaning activist groups. Author Will Potter, a journalist whose own low-level activism ran up against Homeland Security, delves deep into the social, political, legal—and, importantly, ethical—issues raised by this new war on 'ecoterrorism.'" —Utne Reader

"In this hard-hitting debut, journalist Potter likens the Justice Department targeting of environmentalists today to McCarthyism in the 1950s. . . A shocking exposé of judicial overreach." —Kirkus Reviews (Starred review)

"Potter (a contributor to The Next Eco-Warriors) warns that the U.S. government is using post-9/11 anti-terrorism resources to target environmentalists and animal right activists (in some cases for doing nothing but speaking up). After being threatened with a domestic terrorist label for leafleting, Potter turned to uncovering the "Green Scare" and details here the story of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and controversial protests that resulted in severe jail sentences for participants. Tracing funds from animal-exploiting corporations to Congress and the passing of the big business-friendly Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, Potter reports on an increased usage of the terrorism enhancement in court cases. Citing Freedom of Information Act sources, he reveals that the U.S. government has constructed secret prisons, or Communication Management Units (CMUs), to house suspected terrorists in conditions even more extreme than those of Supermax facilities (which house Zacarias Moussaoui and Eric Rudolph, among others). Potter warns of the crumbling of 'the legal wall separating 'terrorist' from ‘dissident' or ‘undesirable,' and concludes his account with a call to action and a decry of the injustice that results in the 'terrorist' label being put on those who threaten American corporate interests. Alarming." —Publishers Weekly

"While the link between separating recyclables and hijacking planes is far from obvious, the labeling of 'eco-terrorism' has been applied to many aspects of this social movement. Named the 'No. 1 domestic terrorism threat' by FBI deputy assistant director John Lewis six years ago, Potter argues that the fear tactics involved in applying such an evocative term to radical activism is an attempt to intimidate that mirrors the Red Scare of the mid-20th century (which was in fact the second wave of the government's anti-Communist focus)." —Austin Examiner

From the Back Cover

"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, unpacking with wit and skill the most elusive concepts--his discussion of 'terrorism' as myth and symbol is the finest I've ever read. He takes us inside the first moments of a movement in the making--idealistic, hopeful, deeply human in its aspirations and its oh-so-human failings--and he reports brilliantly on a ruling power willing to hollow out any sense of authentic democracy in its futile attempt to maintain dominance, privilege, and their arid version of reality. 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

"Will Potter unveils this complex movement with its virtues and its flaws, the courage of a few and the false bravado of others. I see this book as the definitive overview of the genesis of what is emerging as the most important social movement in human history--the war to save ourselves from ourselves."

-- Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

"If we are to survive capitalism's death grip on our discourse and on our lives, it will be in great measure due to the work of people like Will Potter. His courage and integrity, which set him apart from most journalists, are evident throughout this important book, and throughout all of his other crucial work. Thank you, Will Potter."

-- Derrick Jensen, author of Endgame and many other books

More About the Author

Will Potter is an award-winning independent journalist based in Washington, D.C. His reporting and commentary have appeared in the Washington Post, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone, the Chicago Tribune, and Democracy Now, and he has testified before the U.S. Congress about his reporting. He has lectured at more than 100 universities and public forums internationally about his work, including Georgetown University, the New York City Bar Association, and the House of Democracy and Human Rights in Berlin. Will is also an advisory board member of the Rosenberg Fund for Children. Green Is The New Red was awarded a Kirkus Star for "remarkable merit" and named one of the best books of 2011.

Customer Reviews

All of the short stories in the book were very captivating.
In Green Is the New Red, Potter worries that he might be doing more harm than good by writing and speaking about the government's campaign against activists.
Mark F. Hand
I recommend this book as an addition to everyone's summer reading list.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By modestjake on June 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
I started reading the book thinking it would be a quick, interesting read into the animal and earth liberation movements and the prosecution of those involved. But what I got was a serious, in depth analysis of how the government and corporations are in bed with another to prosecute above ground activists as terrorists and punish underground activists engaging in non-violent actions more severely than those committing murder.

It was a compelling read full of smart dissections of the political process and Mr. Potter's own role in it, as well as a rare glimpse into the personal lives of those the US government has deemed domestic terrorists due to their political beliefs. Mr. Potter has a rare knack of telling a rich story of personal drama, conviction and heartbreak while educating the reader about issues that the powers-that-be would prefer to keep behind closed doors.

Green is the New Red is one of the most important books I've read in quite some time.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on May 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is important, green is the new red tells the story of how government attempts to shut down an effective voice for the voiceless. It shows how real terrorism, killing people, has been conflated with property damage or even with political speech. Scary but necessary reading. I'd also suggest Muzzling a Movement if you are interested in the subject. And I think we all should be, the terrorism stick can be used to bash anyone the powers that be disagree with.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By E. MICHAUD on May 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have any interest at all in the environment, animal rights, activism in general, current events, or the government then you really must read "Green is the New Red." Will Potter chronicles, in a way that manages to be both personal and sweeping, the history of radical activism within the environmental and animal rights movements. By reading this book you will learn exactly how and why the meme of "eco-terrorism" was schemed up and sold to the public by the government even though it twists the customary definition of terrorism well beyond reason. If the book doesn't open your eyes, frighten you, fascinate you, and piss you off all at the same time then, well, I'm afraid you're probably not that much fun at cocktail parties or anarchist potlucks. I couldn't put it down. And I'm not big into rereading books but I'll hit this again for sure.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rhea Parsons on May 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Honestly, I have never been interested in politics - it always seemed like a mix of money, power and hypocrisy and I suppose I didn't understand how it really affected me personally. Well, I was right on one count but boy, does it affect me! I started learning on the web site "Green is the New Red" about how animal/environmental activism is being perverted by the government and labeled as terrorist activity and so when Will Potter's book came out, I bought it right away. Once I picked it up, I didn't put it down until I was finished.

Will Potter examines the history of animal/environmental activism and how it has been received in the eyes of the law, politics, big business and the federal administrations. Throughout the book, Potter tells the frightening tales of activists who were arrested and charged with terrorism for actions that should have fallen under their constitutional rights of free speech and non-violent civil protest. If you have ever gone to a protest, handed out a leaflet or shared your beliefs on a web site, you can't help but be scared (or terrorized, for a better word) that you too could find yourself in the same shackles as these political victims.

Don't think for a second (as I did) that you might be bored reading a book about the law and politics. Potter's writing style is fluid, dynamic and you find yourself flowing through the pages, swept up in the stories, and shocked by what you learn about how bills get passed into law and how people trying to improve the world get scapegoated and persecuted. Mixed into the history and policy is intrigue, suspense, heartbreak, and shock. The book grabs you from the first page and doesn't let go even after you finish the book. It is a thriller of the worst kind because it is real.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
Will Potter presents a clear-sighted view of the big picture in the animal rights and environmental movements, of what is at stake, and of the lives that have already been touched by the "terrorism" rhetoric. Many will read this and be frightened. And it is frightening to realize that the American justice system is willing to send people to prison and label them terrorists even if they have not been charged with breaking a law. It begins to sound like Kafka, or like 1984, but I agree with Will's viewpoint that the best way to fight is with knowledge. I highly recommend this book to everyone, activist or not.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Mark F. Hand on May 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
From Press Action:


The American Civil Liberties Union did not oppose the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. Let me repeat that: the American Civil Liberties Union did not oppose the heinous Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act when the legislation was getting rammed through Congress in late 2006.

When I was reminded of that fact while reading Will Potter's new book, Green Is The New Red: An Insider's Account of a Social Movement Under Siege, I had to take a deep breath and tell myself that the ACLU is a mainstream organization that worries too much about sustaining its ability to raise funds and often backs away from staunchly defending civil liberties, the principle on which it supposedly was founded.

Let me explain why the ACLU and all freedom-loving people should have publicly and actively opposed AETA. Well, I'll let Potter, an expert on AETA, explain why the ACLU should have opposed the bill. Testifying before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security in May 2006, Potter stated:

"Public fears of terrorism since the tragedy of September 11th should not be exploited to push a political agenda. I urge you to reject this bill and ensure that limited antiterrorism resources are used to protect national security and human life, not profits."

AETA was a new version of the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992, legislation that gave birth to the so-called crime of "animal enterprise terrorism." AETA amplified AEPA by extending the range of legal prosecution of activists, updating the law to cover Internet protest campaigns, and enforcing stiffer penalties for "terrorist" actions.
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