Gov’t Attacks Earth-First!


Fifth Estate # 332, Summer, 1989

Signs are that the government has begun an assault on radical environmental groups with the arrest of four people associated with the Earth First! movement and the order that 12 others appear before a federal grand jury. As we go to press, all we have are sketchy reports from the daily media and a quick call to the EF! Tucson headquarters, but it appears as though a class set-up is at work.

Four people including Dave Foreman, an EF! founder, were charged May 31 with conspiring to sabotage two nuclear power plants and face as much as 85 years in jail. Mark Davis and Marc Baker were caught attempting to cut down a utility pole while Foreman and Peg Millet were arrested in their homes. It seems as though the cops were informed in advance of their intended actions.

As bad as the arrests are, the Grand Jury subpoenas may portend something even worse. EF!, given its public espousal of eco-sabotage (or monkeywrenching), seems open to prosecution under the draconian RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) Act which allows the government to move against groups it designates as “constituting a continuing criminal enterprise.”

This newspaper has its disagreements with Earth First! but mainly over the utterances of its spokespeople. We, as do they, support a militant defense of the planet and find little to criticize in their tactics.

We urge people to give full support to the defense of those arrested and called before the Grand Jury. Radical environmentalism is unfortunately only a small part of the ecology movement and those victimized by the state cannot be left to twist in the wind.

A short note to any who might think that trying to stop a nuke plant is “insane” as one person stated: Adjacent to a New York Times article on the EF! arrests was a report stating that as it now stands, there is no safe burial site for the plutonium which accumulates daily from nuke plants—wastes which will have to be secure for 1,000,000 years!

Who is the nut? is an appropriate question.

Contact: Earth First!, POB 5871, Tucson AZ 85703 for more information, copies of their journal and contribution to the defense fund.