With Friends Like These…


Fifth Estate # 333, Winter, 1990

As one might expect, paranoia runs high in Earth First! at this moment with much of their boisterous self-confidence muted by the realization of the extent of the government’s attempt to stop their efforts. This is exactly what the intent of the infiltration, arrests and subpoenas are: to rein in a movement that refuses to play by the rules established for “nice” environmental groups. In that regard, it should be seen as an attack on all environmental radicals and defended as such.

Unfortunately, Dave Foreman and others writing in his private business, the Earth First! Journal, continue to issue forth racist refugee bating (see the regularly featured column “The Human Horde” for a rave pandering to the hysteria of good amerikkkans that foreigners are eating their pets—which one would expect many EF!ers to support if it were true) and other patriotic ravings that make us barely want to be in the same room with them let alone come to their defense.

For instance, the November 1989 Journal also contains an article written and prominently copyrighted by Foreman entitled “Wither Monkeywrenching?” (conveniently ignoring that he is invoking the power of the federal government to protect his property just as developers do). In this numbered list of dos and don’ts for the true-blue EF!er (Foreman is fond of this style), he attacks the burning of the U.S. flag at the 1989 EF! gathering as being “committed by fools or persons deliberately trying to discredit Earth First!…(loggers, law enforcement agents, etc.).” This slanderous cop-baiting of people who have proven themselves in numerous EF! actions not only creates disunity, it is an attempt to set the ideological tone of the group, even after most people at the gathering showed that they wouldn’t be stampeded behind the flag. Foreman’s rave is a sad parody of the conservative conservationists’ insinuations that EF! and other radicals give environmentalism a bad name.

Foreman doesn’t have a clue as to who his real friends are, but we support the defense of EF! despite comments such as his. The attack on EF! is an attack on all those who would stand up to the institutions now destroying the earth for power and, profit.

The second Live Wild or Die has just arrived as we go to press, filled with excellent and inspired material. This paper is literally thrilling to read, and contains much that is moving, such as the material on the mass spiking of trees in western Canada. Available from FE Books for $3 or write LWOD, P.O. Box 13765, Portland OR 97231. We’ll write more about it later.


See other FE articles on Earth First! in our Archive.