REGARDING EARTH FIRST!
1. Earth First! must stay true to its roots. We must speak for nature, and make our voices heard. The earth comes first!, and Hayduke lives!
Concerning discussions about the Journal, this implies that (1) it must continue to spread the message of direct action, including via such things as Dear Ned Ludd and Earth Night News, and (2) it should continue to be produced in or very near to a significant natural ecosystem. I would also suggest that each issue contain an index of selected back articles, to be made available on the website, including such things as:
- Exploit the media, before it exploits you (Samhain 98 and Yule 98-99)
- 13 tips for activists (Litha 99)
- Attn: FBI action alert (Lughnasadah 99)
- Womyn and nature: sexism in Earth First! (Samhain 99)
- and all Ned Ludd and How-To articles
2. Our efforts, while producing some notable successes, are woefully inadequate in comparison to the amount of destruction the earth is suffering. More deeply, there is no significant movement within the general public away from human chauvinism. We need more activists and more acts, and for this we must find more effective ways to spread the education of biocentrism.
3. Earth activism has a historic opportunity, though, through the rise of broad resistance to corporate globalization. The question is, how can we harness this energy and commitment to the cause of environmental conservation? How do we make our voices heard, and add more voices to our chorus. Our goal should be to increase the amount of EF! activism, and at a rate faster than the growth in social issue activism.
To accomplish this EF! must spread to every country. Globalize Earth First! As a movement we must embrace growth. Also, in multi-cause demonstrations the words Earth First! and Biocentrism, and a description of the message of biocentrism, must be heard again and again, particularly on TV. If we do not do this, we will be drowned out by more-populous and better-funded human-centric issue groups. We will be assimilated, absorbed and eliminated. Further, we should look for ways to get this message repeated, again and again, in schools, starting with pre-schools. (One campaign would be to approach teacher groups, and recommend appropriate curriculum additions.)
Concerning the Journal, one idea is to organize - and expand - the international coverage by continent or bioregion. Another is to create a review of the significant outstanding ecological causes in each continent or bioregion, including the groups which are active and the direct action strategies which are being used. (This could be published separately and then released on the website, like the periodic reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.)
4. Regarding globalization activism, we must recognize that it is a top-down approach directed against institutions. But much environmental destruction is grass-roots; from the bottom-up. To fight this we should link with certain social justice issues, particularly women's rights. Only when women in developing societies (all societies) have full rights to education, and life options other than that of being a possession, will population pressure ease. (Our goal, of course, is a significant decline in the global population.)
5. We are anarchists. We are against rule. All extant social structures - capitalism, socialism, communism and theocracy - are based on large institutions and hence involve inequality and dictatorship. What's the alternative? Neo-primitivism? How far back do we want to go? Also, is neo-primitivism consistent with the underlying positive motivation and forward movement of life? For example, how can a neo-primitivist society be designed that allows for such things as continued developments in science? (One aspect of life's underlying motivation is that we want to learn, and science is one route to new knowledge.) In other words, can we pursue science, ethically, and at the same time avoid using its unethical technological applications? Finally, if we can design such a society, can we also create a process by which our current society is transformed into it?
6. I would argue that a continuous transformation, as might be achieved through social reform, is impossible. The transformation will require a discontinuous break, a distinct change from one form of society to another. Furthermore, the period surrounding this break will be characterized by chaos.
Of course, the earth, and human society, is approaching, and in many cases already experiencing, chaos. The factors behind this include:
- Human overpopulation and overconsumption. (Nine billion people by 2050!!!)
- The rampant ecological destruction and ecosystem collapse which results from this.
- The social dislocation and conflict which in turn arises from this.
- The support of democracy for dictatorship, as with U.S. and E.U. support for China and Burma.
- The increasing dictatorial tendencies in many democratic nations, such as the greatly increased power, and repressive actions, of the police.
- The reversal in the last ten years of the overall trend, worldwide, towards increasing democracy, with many states now becoming increasingly and openly authoritarian, particularly in Asia and Latin America, and including the rise of new forms of authoritarian rule which are not even viewed as dictatorship (e.g., Peru, Malaysia, Cambodia, Zimbabwe).
- The rise of new forms of dictatorship, including corporations and supranational institutions. Indeed, through the wealth and power inequalities which result from capitalism, we are multiplying the number of dictatorships, and their emperors. Every major corporation is like a new national or religious dictatorship.
- Government, corporate and judicial collusion, through which our social system of checks and balances, our defense against dictatorship, has failed.
- And the statistically significant possibility of a coming conflict involving China, due to its underlying ideology which has merged its imperialist legacy, the government's faith in which survives to this day, with the goal of achieving universal communism via any means.
A breaking point will be reached. Total brainwashing, which has kept the general public subdued to this point, will fail. And the rise of absurd wealth inequalities, coupled with ecological collapse, will prove unendurable. For instance, say you are a farmer, one of billions. And your fields no longer produce, and the surrounding hills and streams are empty of life. And you work hard, every day, to survive. Meanwhile, one group of people, a small group, the wealthiest, control billions. And they argue that they deserve it because they work hard too. Wouldn't you be inclined to show such people the real nature and value of hard work? Wouldn't you want to demonstrate that their hard work is not a million or billion times more valuable than yours? And wouldn't the best way to accomplish this be to redirect your efforts, to seek new employment, so-to-speak, and with the power and motivation that derives from your great number of peers and the oppression which you share, confiscate the proceeds of their selfishness and theft?
It is worth noting that all great concentrations of wealth ultimately have been redistributed.
Positive social change will require chaos, and whether one accepts this or not it is coming anyway. It is also arguable that an acceleration of its arrival will prevent much environmental destruction which otherwise is unavoidable (as well as stop overpopulation and overconsumption in its tracks). Shouldn't we assist this?
But, are we up to it? Are we willing to take the steps necessary to trigger social chaos, to save the earth? Or, have we resigned ourselves to being ineffectual: to being right, but having only a minor impact?
© Roland O. Watson 2001-3