Tag Archives: eco

Green Theory and Praxis Journal

Great news–the newly restarted Green Theory and Praxis Journal now has its website up.

And I am on the editorial board as their official book reviewer!!  We are all very excited about bringing this to you.  And since I am disabled and spent two years in prison, I feel like I’ll have a lot to contribute to the board.

“A multi-movement publication, GTPJ is a critical theory journal seeking scholarship in the areas of environmental justice, eco-ability, eco-feminism, eco-transgender studies, global justice, revolutionary environmentalism, critical race theory, critical environmental education, ecopedagogy, Earth liberation, etc. Further, the journal promotes deconstruction of oppressive binaries (culture/nature, wild/civilized, human/animal), real world application of critical theory, and a jargon-free rhetorical foundation supporting the abolition of all systems of domination. GTPJ is not a reformist publication. Rather, our mission argues for mass global transformation through the critique of systems, not individuals, that promote oppression.”

Stay tuned!

Support the ALF

Rikki w/ Stikki supports the ALF….

…And she convinced me too, as well!

ALF?  you ask.  Isn’t that the alien puppet from that horrible ’80s show?  Well, yes, but here is an introduction to who the Animal Liberation Front is and why they do what they do.

Check out Bite Back Magazine for an extensive list of worldwide actions.

Beyond that, I highly recommend reading Terrorists or Freedom Fighters:  Reflections on the Liberation of Animals, edited by Steven Best and Anthony Nocella, II, if you haven’t already.

Undercover Stockyard Investigations, PART 3/3

AND HERE IS THE (THRILLING?) FINALE!!

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It’s a small yellow pickup with an open-topped trailer attachment.  I recognize it from a video on the sanctuary’s website, which showed a sheep in horrendous pain; the trailer was so packed that a cow had one of her feet on top of the sheep’s face.  Her eyes bulged from the pressure.  She bleated in agony.  This time the trailer is filled solely with sheep, about a dozen of them crowded and huddled together.  The truck exits the grounds and turns left.  After waiting until the truck is about a hundred yards away, we follow.

I tell Frank about what I saw.  When I talk about the little black lamb, and how heartbreaking it was, he says something that makes it even worse.  “Next time just take off with her.  We’ll take her to the sanctuary.”

“Are you serious?”  My heart, sinking.  My spirit, another little death among millions.

“Fuck yeah.”

“But that’ll compromise my ability to return there, won’t it?”

“Maybe, maybe not.  Who gives a fuck?  Too good to pass up.”

I sink into the seat.  “Fuck.”

“No, it’s alright.  In the long run, it’s probably for the best.”

I shake my head, biting a fingernail.  I’m sick of the fucking long run.  At what point does the long run become now?  Even more importantly, at what point does the long run move into the past?

The yellow truck is about five cars ahead of us, waiting for the light to go green so we can turn left and merge onto the freeway.  “I wanna see where this guy’s going,” Frank says.  “If it’s as fucked up as I think it is, and we can get footage, we could maybe shut down his whole damn operation.”  The light turns green.  Cars and trucks in front of the yellow truck–our mark–inch forward, some of the U-turning like tortoises with sticky feet.  The mark makes it through.

“Come on, motherfuckers!” I cry.  With three cars in front of us, the light turns yellow.  We have to make this light.  It’s a busy intersection, and if we have to wait through another cycle the truck will have a good two-minute head start.  If he gets off the freeway or switches to another one within a few miles we’ll lose him.  The light turns red just as the car in front of us hits the turn.  We’re ten feet back.  Frank guns the engine and rockets through the intersection and onto the freeway ramp with a throaty roar of the diesel engine.  I laugh, vamped up, almost delirious with excitement.  Oh Christ please I hope a cop didn’t see us.  We’d be toast for sure, the tailing job finished before it really even started.

But no.  We speed onto the 60 and find the truck, hold back several cars in the next lane over.  But this becomes difficult, because the fucker is going so slow.  Eventually we have no choice but to fall in right behind them (we can now see there are two men in the truck cabin) in the far right lane.  The fastest they ever go is about 60 miles per hour.  Which is good for the animals, I suppose–better than 70, anyway–but bad for tailing someone.  The only thing working in our favor is that it’s dark.  Our headlights are the only thing clearly visible.  After 30 or 40 minutes we’ve changed freeways twice (a common occurrence anywhere in southern California) and we’re on the 210 North, the Pasadena Freeway.  It seems we’ve passed the point of no return.  After following them this long, it makes no sense to turn back around.  We’ve come this damn far.  It would make all the time spent so far a total waste.  We’re in for the long haul.

Frank talks about his views on kids, a subject on which we immediately click.  He doesn’t have any.  Doesn’t want any.  He’s quite a misanthrope (hence a kindred spirit) and loathes that there are so damn many humans on the planet.  He is vasectomized–a heroic act in my opinion.  At this point I’m only 21, and already I’ve been thinking about getting one.  The only thing that stops me at this point is my doctor parents, who think it’s a wretched idea.  They don’t understand that if I ever want kids–highly unlikely–I’ll just ADOPT.  Imagine that!   Helping some poor unwanted kid who’s already alive, rather than creating yet another hungry mouth and shitting anus.  My mom says any doctor who would perform a vasectomy on a 21-year-old would be a hack, and might hack off parts I want to keep!  I have heard it’s difficult for just about anyone in their 20s, let alone early 20s, to get a vasectomy.  This, along with my omnipresent malaise, and monetary concerns, delay me.  But I do eventually get one, just a few days after turning 25.  One month, in fact, before beginning a four-year prison sentence in Illinois for marijuana trafficking.

Frank expresses a brilliant idea; why the fuck do people get their foolish and selfish breeding subsidized by the government in the form of tax breaks??  It’s further encouraging overpopulation and the straining (and draining) of public and social resources–e.g. schools, roads, and welfare programs.  Instead they should reward people for not having kids, for being responsible in this hyper-crowded, hyper-polluted, hyper-destructive country.  It is another dream of mine to someday open a free spay-neuter clinic–for humans.  How awesome would that be?  It would certainly attract a lot of publicity, that much we can agree on!

Frank begins to worry that we’re being too obvious, that the driver of the yellow truck has caught on and will lead us astray.  So Frank pulls a daring and clever evasive (or rather pseudo-evasive) maneuver.  As we approach an exit he makes like he’s getting off the freeway.  He actually merges onto the ramp, on the other side of the widening shoulder from the slow lane.  He drops his speed to 40.  The yellow truck is now several hundred yards in front of us.  At the last possible second, Frank wrenches the wheel to the left.  Onto the shoulder.  He slams on the brakes and we crunch to a stop on the gravel and dirt and detritus.  Then he kills the engine and we sit in darkness for some 30 seconds.  Letting them get a little ahead.  There are no freeway interchanges for a long time, so that’s not a concern.  The only problem is if they take an exit.  But it’s a risk worth taking, because we can’t have them certain they’re being followed.

Within a few minutes we catch up to them again.  Frank tries to hang back but it’s even harder now because they’ve dropped to a consistent speed of 55, sometimes even 50 mph.  Seems they know we’ve returned.  “If they pull over,” Frank says with deadpan resolve, perhaps in a fugue of angry determination, perhaps thinking more clearly than ever, “I’m gonna stop behind them.  I might punch out the driver and take the truck with all the animals.  Then you’ll follow me to the sanctuary in this.”

I stare at him.  “Are you serious?”

“Yeah!”

I swallow.  The idea is scary, but at the same time exhilarating.  It would be so incredible to  be part of saving so many animals in one fell swoop–future legal ramifications be damned!  “Okay then.”

But they never do pull over.  We end up following them for over 75 minutes, including five freeway changes.  Off the Interstate, northeast of L.A. among the high-walled scrub brush bluffs, they turn left into a residential area, and we follow.  Now they know we’re tailing them.  The street is narrow, barely wide enough for two Kias.

“If he stops,” Frank says, “I want you to quick jump out with the camcorder and climb on the back of the trailer.  Film how crowded and miserable the sheep are.”

I’m anxious but pumped.  I wipe my sweaty palms on my jeans.  “Alright.”

But the yellow truck goes up to a house at the top.  Another, bigger pickup pulls out into the street once the trailer is past.  This new big black pickup blocks our path.  It just sits there.  “Well there ya go,” Frank says.  “Must’ve called ahead to his homies once he noticed we were following.”  I can’t believe the nonchalance in his voice.

“What are we gonna do?”

He wiggles his lips, as if trying to gum a piece of food without opening his mouth, thinking hard.  He pulls onto a side street, turns around.  We drive back down the hill.  Park behind a little Mexican restaurant.  Ironically we’re fewer than ten miles from the animal sanctuary; we started the drive some 70 miles away.  We wait 15 minutes and then cruise back up toward the house.  We park and get out.  There’s a little gully on the right, filled with brush and vegetation, that infamous desert-ish chapparel that makes southern California a veritable tinder box.

Staring up at the house, we crouch there and wonder what to do.  The gully slopes upward at the far end to the front of their property.  We’ve come all this way.  I’m bristling with nervous energy, but adrenaline courses through my bloodstream like big fat salmon shoving their way upriver.  I want to do something.  Concerns for my own safety have disappeared.  I’m in the action zone.  In terms of fear and worry, once you get past a certain threshold, you begin to feel invincible; the hard part is conquering that first stretch.

Frank finally speaks.  “I hate to say it, but the best thing to do would probably be ta call it a night.”

I frown, scanning the area.  “Why don’t we sneak through there.”  I gesture to the gully, thick with vegetation.  “Hide in the bushes at the top and see what we can see.”

“It’s really dark.  A flashlight would give us away.”

“Our eyes will adjust.  Plus there’s a decent amount of moonlight.”  I do not want to turn tail, so to speak, and leave.  70 miles of following, all that diesel burned–we should do everything we possibly can.

“It’s just not a good idea.”  I can tell he’s reluctant to leave as well–this is, after all, the guy who earlier wanted to knock out the driver and steal his truck!–but he’s trying to do what’s smart, rather than that which satisfies our angry guts.  “We know he’s got his homies up there.  They could have guns.  Even if they don’t, there’s only two of us.  But at least now we know where their farm is.”

I nod, disappointed.  But he probably is right.  We begin the long drive back to Chino, to where my car is parked.  I can’t shake the disturbing and horrific images of the day from my head.  At least now, though, I don’t have to trust others when they say how badly “food” animals are abused.  How they live in squalor.  Because now I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

We stop at Denny’s on the way back for coffee and chow; it’s close to 11 P.M. and we really haven’t eaten since lunch.  We’re both vegan, of course.  But tonight, after this day, I take extra care to make absolutely certain that our veggie burgers are 100 percent free of animal products.  It’s the least I can do.  The least.

But is that really enough–or even close to enough, given the amount of suffering?  I don’t think so.  I just don’t….

That night I dream of flaming arrows, of shooting them over fences.  Of fire.  Cleansing, beautiful fire of the just.  The just plain fucking fed up.

One of the most important and mesmerizing books you could possibly read if you are an activist, whether your tactics are above- or under-ground.

Derrick Jensen’s Thoughts?

 

Saw Derrick in Berkeley the other night and came home to see a picture I took with this expression, and just had to meme-ify it  🙂

Highlight of the night (aside from his hopping up from the book-signing table to give me a big hug and say how happy he is that I’m free!) was when he said (paraphrased):

A lot of people tell me they can’t imagine living without the internet, or cars, or take your pick of industrial technologies.  But when was the last time you heard someone say, “I can’t imagine living without polar bears.  Or salmon.  Or migratory songbirds.  Or a livable planet.  When was the last time YOU said something like that?

So very powerful, so very true.

 

My Review of Igniting a Revolution Published!

The Peace Studies Journal has just released their latest issue, and they published my review of Igniting a Revolution:  Voices in Defense of the Earth, edited by Steven Best and Anthony J. Nocella, II.  Check it out!

Peace Studies Journal

Please support them, they have a lot of cool stuff!  Here’s a direct link to my review in PDF.

Maximum Instruction, Not Minimum Adage–Operation Bite Back by Dean Kuipers

The following is a book review of Operation Bite Back by Dean Kuipers about longtime ALF activist Rod Coronado.  The book came out about three years ago, but I still think it’s worth reading about; Rod to me is one of the most courageous, instructive, and effective activists this Earth has had in the last 50 years.

(For those who are not as obsessed with puns as I, but still interested, this one must be explained because it references something rather obscure;  one of Rod Coronado’s adages was “Maximum destruction, not minimum damage.”  So that’s right, I punned that in a way that actually fits.  BA-ZING!)

Article originally published in the Earth First! Journal

Operation Bite Back by Dean Kuipers is a biography of longtime Sea Shepherd, ALF and Earth First! activist Rod Coronado.  More specifically, it is a detailed description of his campaign to cripple the United States fur industry, and the radical environmental and animal rights culture out of which it arose.  Many of us know the generalities of what occurred during that time period.  But OBB gives us a whole new dimension of detail and flavor.  This alone makes it worth reading.

In it, we get to experience a level of complexity of emotion, as well as context, that is largely unavailable anywhere else.  I have read Memories of Freedom, the zine written if not exclusively by Rod, then with the assistance of other ALF comrades, and his own zine written during his four-year prison sentence, Strong Hearts, a number of times.  So I was already quite familiar with many of the events as described by the actual participant(s).  Even so, these descriptions had to necessarily leave out a lot.  So instead of the near-fearless bravado of communiques and zines, we see the full anxiety and trepidation experienced by those activists.  We find out about how the passion and fury and intimate knowledge that drove Rod to commit these audacious acts also drove him to bouts of recklessness, bouts that could have and sometimes did contribute to his eventual capture by the state.

That’s right.  Even the great Rod Coronado, one of the most successful and revered direct action activists of the 20th century, committed serious breaches of security culture.  OBB, then, is required reading for anyone interested in using direct action, or in being an ally to those who do.  We can all learn a lot from it.

Rod in his native southwest desert.

That is not to say Kuipers’ work is not without some serious problems.  Journalistic objectivity certainly has its place, but sometimes it’s okay to have a little bias—speaking as a person heavily biased toward life and the continuation of it here on this beautiful little blue gem.  In fact, if anything, the author is at times biased against Rod and his partners-in-righteous-crime.  He falls over himself a number of times to defend the hideous animal experiments performed by some of Rod’s targets.  In true “objective” fashion for a mainstream media journalist (Kuipers, after all, is an editor at the Los Angeles Times), he implies both that the experiments performed actually have application for humans, and that they are intended to and will in actuality help animals.  For anyone with half a brain and/or a third of a conscience, this is a nauseating and ludicrous premise.

He makes a number of factual and logical mistakes that only an outsider—and a negligent outsider, at that—could make.  These are so numerous and weighty that it almost seems as if they are done to intentionlly discredit a section of the radical environmental and animal movements.  For example, he mentions a car bombing done allegedly by the Animal Rights Militia in Britain during the 1980s.  He comes out strong against it, saying it is reprehensible violence and “murderous” (44).  What he fails to mention until several chapters later is that this car bombing has been widely discredited, and is now believed to have been the work of provocateurs.  Convenient ommission.  Similarly, he totes the mass media and vivisection industry’s rhetoric in calling the 2008 firebombing of a UC Santa Cruz vivisector’s front porch “attempted murder.”  Something tells me if those responsible were attempting to murder the vivisector, they would’ve done a lot more than leave a molotov cocktail on a fire-sprinkler-equipped porch.  He brings up the incident in 1987 where, at a Cloverdale, CA sawmill, a tree spike snaps a saw blade and severely injures the mill worker.  He does not mention that this tree-spiking was almost undoubtedly not done by an environmentalist, and therefore proper precautions were not taken.  Another convenient ommission used to discredit eco-radicals.  He calls Murray Bookchin a “green anarchist,” a laughable and foolish claim to anyone in the know.  Additionally, he revels in the fact that he’s witnessed Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society chowing down on steak a number of times.  Yet these days the lovably rotund Watson travels around the world heavily (no pun intended, ha!) promoting veganism for environmental reasons, and all current signs strongly suggest Watson now maintains a vegan diet.  Clearly Kuipers’ is speaking from very outdated experience here.

Despite these serious problems, Operation Bite Back is overall a very well-researched project.  It contains a bevy of information that is both interesting and very useful to all in the radical environmental or animal liberation community.  Read it with a dash of proverbial salt, but read it nonetheless.

Demonstrating the best way to consume one of his longtime favorite beverages.

Testify! Eco-Defense and the Politics of Violence

This is probably the best overall documentary I’ve seen about the environment; it is uncompromisingly militant and very entertaining to boot.  It is available in 9 parts on You Tube.  Here’s part 1.  I cannot more highly recommend it.

 

I’ve also transcribed the video in English, in case anybody wants to subtitle it in their native language; I did this for a friend in the Czech Republic and he then added subtitles and showed it at hardcore shows!  Let me know if you want a copy of the transcript.

The Rewild West Prologue!

Click the link below to read the fun, entertaining and informative prologue to the narrative nonfiction book for which I am researching that goes along with this blog and photography project, fittingly title The Rewild West:

http://wp.me/PQhKO-4w

It’s also posted under “Other Writings.”

Deaths by Tree Spiking

I saw that a recent top search on my blog was “How many killed by tree spiking?”  There’s this industry-pushed-and-funded misinformation in mainstream media that tree spiking is an attempt to harm old-growth tree murderers; this is completely untrue and has no basis in reality.  Every single known environmentally-inspired tree-spiking was anonymously announced to the timber company and, where appropriate, the Forest Service–done solely in order to avoid worker injuries.  NO PERSON HAS EVER BEEN KILLED BY A TREE SPIKE.  The case of George Alexander, which I discussed in my prior entry, is the ONLY KNOWN EVEN INJURY TO OCCUR AS THE RESULT OF A TREE-SPIKING, and that particular instance was not performed by an environmentalist.  The industry of course demonizes these sorts of actions as violent, homocidal, and immoral.  And yet they of course do not mention that timber cutting (aka forest killing) is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, with mortality rates FAR higher than the average.  People are killed by shitty equipment, falling trees, etc.  But never by a tree spike.  Remember that, if nothing else.  So the real homocidal, violent lunatics are the corporate CEOs and company managers who push for higher and higher cut rates, and who fail to replace shoddy equipment in the name of corner-cutting profit-mongering, as the case of George Alexander shows.

Vasectomy!

The last couple months I finally got my shit in order and started to actualize my goal and dream of getting a vasectomy.  I’ve been thinking about it for years, and have been absolutely 100% sure that I want one for probably close to two years.  Some days I don’t mind kids so much, when they’re not too jacked on Ritalin or sugar or happy childhood naivete.  Other days they annoy the shit out of me.  But I do love and care about them and their future.  However, with something like 6,800,000,000 humans on Earth (that’s 6 billion, 800 million!), I feel that having even one child is one of the most destructive personal acts in which we can participate.  Every new child in the first world is another acre of open space that evaporates for housing, industry, and agriculture.  Every new kid is another mouth to feed in a hungry world that is being destroyed in part by agriculture.  Every new kid is another potential car on the road, another several hundred pounds of garbage a year, more pesticides and herbicides poisoning the land and water, that much less space for nonhumans on the planet.  And if a person really wants kids, why not take an unwanted child whose life would likely be wretched, and adopt them?  Seems like the most loving thing to do if you love children.  I like my freedom and don’t want to be tied down, so kids just aren’t for me–aside from the political factors.  One more thing–this world is shit, and getting worse every day.  Overall I often wish my parents hadn’t foisted this miserable life on me.  That’s not to say I feel suicidal; since I’m already here, I’m gonna do what I can to make a difference.

So anyway, I went to Planned Parenthood and informed them that I am disabled, have no income, and no insurance that would help me with this.  They operate on a sliding scale for vasectomies, and hopefully for abortions too.  So the procedure was free for me (vasectomy, not abortion)!  So a week ago Friday I went in to get it done.  First they did a couple routine checks, like pricking my finger and getting a blood sample to make sure my iron is sufficient.  It’s on the high end of normal.  Take that, vegan nay-sayers!  Then the doctor came in and said that a lot of young people (I’m 25) end up regretting it later.  So he said, basically, “Convince me why you’re not going to regret it.”  I said essentially what I’ve said here, and within a couple minutes he was sold.

All in all it was a VERY easy procedure and recovery.  First they tape your dick to your stomach so that little fucker–no pun intended, ha!)–is out of the way (I’m thinking of utilizing this technique in my day-to-day life).  Then they inject you with Novacaine to numb the area.  A small pinch, probably the only painful part, and it lasts all of two seconds.   They make two small incisions on the top and bottom of the scrotum, smaller than your pinky nail.  Then cut two different veins and cauterize the ends, thereby preventing sperm from entering your semen.  I healed famously, as vegans seem to often do.  Very little swelling, almost no pain whatsoever, the usual ice and painkillers not even necessary.  It is the most effective single form of birth control aside from abstinence (LOL.  Good luck with that one!).  No more worries about pregnancy, no more scary baby thoughts that leave you heaving in the middle of the night, a great political statement, and most importantly, no more goddamn condoms!

(sorry mom and soon-to-be mother-in-law if you’re reading this–it had to be said)

A vasectomy is MUCH safer and easier than a woman having her tubes tied.  So as responsible Earth citizens, I feel it is our duty as males to step up to the plate, be big men, and get it done!