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E-M:/ Massasauga Earth First! statement about the attempted ELF action at Ice Mountain
Enviro-Mich message from "David Stimac Photography" <email@example.com>
First, let me make clear that this is my opinion & not the opinion of my
husband who's name is subscribed to this list.
I'd like to make a few observations/random thoughts about the ELF &
mainstream environmental groups, and try to keep my emotions out of it (fat
chance!). To be sure, I am sitting on the sideline watching all of this go
down. I am not active in any organization, so I can only respond to how
things appear to me on the surface:
1.) If mainstream environmental groups were successful at all levels, then
the ELF simply would not exist. There would be no impetus.
2.) In a Utopia, everyone would play by the rules. But we do not live in a
Utopia - we live in a political environment where corporations call the
shots (but I don't need to tell you that). That said, then it would follow
that trying to play by the rules in this arena is a waste of valuable time
that the Earth simply doesn't have to spare.
3.) I can understand corporations (and the gov't that they control) crying
"terrorism" because its an emotional hotbutton that can be used to sway the
opinion of the uninformed masses (thus ensuring their profit stream). But
for the mainstream environmental groups to get on that sort of radical
verbal bandwagon makes me question which side they are on. I can understand
it when the mainstream enviros politely denounce ELF in public, but to
resort to Rush Limbaugh-style hysterics (...maybe we should put barbed wire
at about 3 feet off the ground on ORV and snowmobile trails...) in a
non-mainstream forum only reveals an inability to put this into perspective.
Why is it that so many Americans are aware of the ELF & Hummer destruction,
yet so few have ever heard of Ken Saro Wiwa? (if you are one of them & need
to read about him & his fellow protestors that played by the rules, click
here: http://archive.greenpeace.org/comms/ken/kenstate.html . Oh, the irony
that Shell may have produced the fuel for the ELF attack on the California
housing & apartment developments is not lost on me; speaking of which,
there's a quote on the Sierra clubs site saying these acts jeopardize the
lives of firemen, police & the public
r2003-08-25a.asp or go to the site & search for ELF, its the first hit).
While the Sierra Club is certainly a strong
crusader for sound forest management & I applaud their efforts, I can find
no mention of how the lives of hundreds of firefighters are jeopardized by a
forest fire that can be directly attributed to crappy forest management.
Why doesn't that deserve an emotional, quotable soundbite?) In short, more
people have died in direct result of corporate terrorism then have at the
actions of ELF. I don't think ELF could ever operate on the scale that
corporate America does. Why isn't the focus on the real terrorists? And to
really quibble on the "working man's life is at stake", how many people are
hurt or killed on a development job site? Who's yelling about that "risk"?
4.) Mainstream environmental groups like to create reports & studies about
the monetary value of an intact wetland, or the dollar value behind keeping
the air clean (and are seemingly read only by members of mainstream
environmental groups -talk about preaching to the choir!). Unfortunately,
these "profits" usually cannot be realized within the next quarter, &
corporations & gov'ts (esp. the current administration) can't seem to
acknowledge anything beyond that. ELF has managed to put a tangible,
immediate increase in the cost of doing business onto the balance sheet -
which is the ONLY thing that corporations respond to. To think otherwise is
lying to ourselves.
5.) If every act of development, logging, pumping, drilling, etc etc
carried a real monetary threat of an ELF type of attack, do you think it
would happen? Sure, some still would, but the decision to do so would be
weighed out far more carefully. Here's a local, silly example of pointless
profiteering: to the south of me (in Lk. Orion, N. Oakland county), there
is a 20-25 store strip mall that looks modern & attractive (for a strip
mall). It has been there for over 10 years. I have never, ever seen more
than 10 stores in that thing occupied at any one time. In the meantime,
there is development going on to the north & south of that area. Who is
making these decisions, & why are they making money? The locals had
petition drives & fought some of these decisions within legal channels, but
all that did was waste their time - there has been no effect on the
development. The laws to really control this activity do not exist, & by
the time they do (if ever) the land left to protect will be so fragmented
that there would essentially be no point in trying - the damage has already
been done. Tongue in cheek here, I think that mainstream environmental
groups should consider their Return On Investment (ROI, just like
corporations do): how much does lobbying, lawsuits & all cost vs. say, a 5
gallon can of gasoline? Which of those 2 threats do you think corporations
take more seriously?
6.) I truly think that mainstream enviro groups are too idealistic about
their Gandhi-inspired methods, and it simply galls them to no end that some
unknown, fragmented group with no bank account or tax-exempt/non-profit
status can grab the spotlight & attention away from them. It's too bad that
mainstream enviros have to spend precious meeting time to explain that they
are not ELF (quote from the aforementioned Sierra Club page). Maybe it
would be more efficient if corporations thought that
they did, & that the "network" is bigger & better organized the once
thought. When a meeting happens, the environmental groups are being
threatened with unspeakable destruction that hurts on a gut level; why is it
that corporations don't get a taste of that type of pain? It is rare that
the corporation has to give up all its plans (a la Humbug Marsh); usually
they get some sort of deal that allows them to proceed. The Earth, however,
ALWAYS looses something. To come out of a meeting saying that you scaled
back a project by 50%, you have lost 50% of what you were fighting for.
Sorry for the bitterness, but that's the truth.
7.) Corporations "do crimes" all the time, (Shanty Creek is one that comes
to mind, but I'm sure there are many more recent examples) and continue to
do so only until they get caught, usually by a
watchdog environmental group! They are counting on the environmental groups
to play by the rules & thus keep the public placated with the illusion that
everything is A-OK, that everyone has the Earth's best interests at heart.
If John Q. Public can do it, buy it, eat it or use it, then he thinks that
it has gotten the stamp of approval from our benevolent government and is
therefore causing no harm to the environment, themselves or to future
generations. Gosh, if it were so bad, then why doesn't the XYZ
Environmental group that I am a member of because my cousin bought me a gift
membership allow it to happen?
Now, I've been pretty down on the mainstream groups here, but I did so to
make my point. Groups that act on the political and/or grassroots level are
very very necessary, and have done a hulluva lot to stop the senseless
actions of a profit oriented political system & its cronies. My point with
all of this is that ELF is providing a valuable service by kicking corporate
America in the pocket book & getting some media attention in the process.
Of course they will be chastised in the media; just look at who owns the
presses. I understand the need for mainstream groups to distance themselves
from actions that are technically criminal; but wouldn't it suffice to say
"we have nothing to do with that", rather than to add more sound bites to
the already lopsided public discussion about how ELF is a terrorist group?
I'm amazed that ELF is not being quietly embraced for the trump card that it
is. Ah, perhaps it is and this is all part of the smoke screen?
I don't want to see things burnt down - I want corporations to not destroy
the Earth because of the very real threat that something they own will be
burnt down. I believe that that is the goal of ELF, and lets face it, it is
also the goal of mainstream environmental groups (the not building part,
rather than the burning part!). Whatever are the
motivating factors for the corporation, it doesn't matter. It is results
I will close now before Ashcroft breaks down my door. 8D Sorry if I stirred
up a turd.
Have a great weekend!
(a disgruntled, demoralized housewife)
PS - as an aside, I think that some of the actions of ALF (Animal Liberation
Front) are a bit silly (releasing hundreds of captive mink into the
countryside is pointless & disrupts the local ecosystem). However, if they
ever decide to do a release at a chicken factory then I want to buy a
ticket, and bring a 6-pack! That would be a quite a spectacle.
PPS - for those that care, this is a hunting household - humans are critters
too that need to eat and soy is not the answer - look at all the land being
cleared in Brazil for GMO soy crops. We just try to not to take more than
our fair share.
PPPS - and no, I'm not an Anarchist. Those people need a hobby.
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