Rage against the machine

February 24, 2010

There is a moment in every environmentalist’s life when disillusionment descends like a tsunami. We’ve gone by the book ; shaken hands, started campaigns, joined the protest march, written articles and reports, filed a petition, the works. And yet shit happens oblivious to it all. Has happened to the best of us. As bulldozers ripped a canal though the ONLY home of the one of the world’s rarest birds and as convoys of trucks filled up a wetland visited every year by pelicans, the tsunami pummelled me silly. Was so easy for ‘them’ to cross the line, while I jumped obediently through one hoop after another within the system.  And while I jumped, the bulldozers and trucks ceaselessly continued their zombie like destruction. End result- I became a world-class jumper and the world got another power plant and an irrigation canal. One of those win-win outcomes so beloved by those on the winning side.

And there are those that have crossed the line. Too tired or clever to jump through hoops, they took the monkey wrench to the bulldozers and trucks. Extremists, eco-terrorists, saboteurs…, call them what you will, but they definitely did not major in ‘sitting-on-the-fence’ in college. They showed the world that there was another way to fight scum. To kick them in the nuts where it hurts the most. The testimony to their impact was the disproportionate retaliation they faced from the state. Ask activist Jeffrey Luers who got 22 years for torching 3 SUVs in a showroom in the middle of the night. This while corporate giants destroy forests, pollute our rivers, butcher animals on a daily basis to make their billions.

A few wise words from our articulate brothers and sisters who crossed the line ;

“You can destroy people, families, communities, and the entire quality of life on Earth for the almighty dollar and somehow be beyond question. But destroy even a few thousand dollars worth of property, for any other ends than money, and you’ll quickly be reminded just how below the law this system regards its citizens.” (Leslie James Pickering)

“We are under attack by a system that values profit over life, which has, and will, kill anything to satisfy its greed. We have seen the results of millions of years of evolution destoryed in the relative blink of an eye” (Earth Liberation Front press office statement)

“We will never succeed in convincing corporate interests to stop the exploitation of animals and the earth, it is against their ‘nature’. We want to defend life at all costs, they want to protect an exploitative way of life no matter what the cost. Their job is to make as much money as possible regardless of the suffering. Our job is to put the bastards out of business.” (Craig ‘Critter’ Marshall)

“We also should not continue to pretend that negotiating with powerful groups whose only concern is short-term monetary profit has gotten us somewhere.”(John Wade)

“On the rare ocassions that politicians talk about saving the environment it is in terms of what is ‘practical’ or ‘cost-effective’. What is an accepetable arsenic-to-water ratio ? How much cancer is too much cancer ?” (John Wade)

“They say we resort to breaking the law. There ain’t no ‘resort’ about it. I’ve resorted to begging, pleading, petitioning and protesting for petty policy changes. I’ve resorted to walking their walk and talking their talk in front of their media and their courts. But I never had to ‘resort’ to breaking the law, it was always a pleasure.” (Leslie James Pickering)