Posts Tagged ‘demagogy’

How To Take Out 15 Wolves With One Shot

How To Take Out 15 Wolves With One Shot

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Posted18 September 2011, by Tom Remington, Black Bear Blog (Skinny Moose), skinnymoose.com/bbb/

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*Scroll for an Update*

WARNING: This image may cause idolizers of wolves to suddenly hemorrhage and shake uncontrollably.

You must click on the image to enlarge in order to fully understand the post’s title.

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*Update* Sept. 19, 2011, 8:25 a.m.

I would like to take a minute to explain why I posted this photograph and what led up to the posting of it. First let me say that I have absolutely no idea who took this photograph or where it was taken. I did not take this photograph. It was sent to me in my email and by judging from the number of emails, most of which I did not recognize, the photo had been around a time or two.

Personally, I thought the picture was disgusting, unnecessary and yes, over the top. But it got me thinking. As I wrote in a comment after the posting, after quite some deliberate self debate, I decided to post it mostly for the reasons I listed, the main one being that over the years that I have been doing this there has never been any outrage from readers when I posted disgusting, unnecessary and over the top photos of other animals that have been disemboweled, dismembered and/or eaten alive by large predators. And yes, never any outrage over when hunters, hikers and joggers get attacked and sometimes killed by other animals. Pity and sorrow maybe, but outrage? Never.

I provided a link to just one other story that very closely resembled this one. There was no outrage. I was not threatened with my life. None of that. Both photos were “posed” by the person who took the pictures and yet there is only outrage over this canine. Why is that?

I proved the point of why I posted the photo. Was it the best choice I’ve ever made? Probably not but I do not apologize for it. If nothing else, rational people can leave from here asking themselves why there is a difference and if you can answer that question, you will be one step closer to understanding why there is a war going on that many call the wolf wars.

On an aside: One reader commented that the photo was of a coyote. There is only one way anyone can know whether this animal is a wolf, coyote or some hybridized canine is to have information about the photo none of the rest of us do.

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http://www.skinnymoose.com/bbb/2011/09/18/how-to-take-out-15-wolves-with-one-shot/

Is Green the New Red? Thinking About Political Repression Today


Is Green the New Red? Thinking About Political Repression Today

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Posted 22 September 2011, by Craig Hughes and Kevin Van Meter (posted by , Left Eye on Books, lefteyeonbooks.com

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“While corporations and the state have certainly targeted activists as ‘eco-terrorists,’ too many other populations have also been targeted for repression to sufficiently pair the Red Scares and the Green Scare.”

“McCarthyism is Americanism with its sleeves rolled,” said Joe McCarthy to a public audience at the height of the second Red Scare that marked the years between 1947 and 1957. While we presume the first part of the sentence to be correct, the rolling of sleeves is a bit more complex, as it can connote both gearing up for a fight as well as preparing for hard work.

The “Green Scare” — a period of government repression of radical earth and animal liberationists, wherein the government has utilized anti-terrorism rhetoric and legislation — as with the Red Scare before it, has both reinvigorated direct violence of the state and attempted to produce a particular form of American society. It is the subject of Will Potter’s important new volume, “Green Is the New Red: An Insider’s Account of a Social Movement under Siege.”

Potter has undoubtedly written a valuable book. While animal rights activists, animal liberationists, environmentalists and earth liberationists have increasingly been targets of repression for decades under the guise of attacks on “eco-terrorism,” the increased repression they’ve faced, particularly following Sept. 11 2001, is not always included in discussions of the hysteria that followed that tragic day. As importantly, the slow linkage of “terrorism” with animal rights and environmental direct action through legislation and shifts in political discourse is an important but little known history. In “Green Is the New Red” Potter has provided us with a well researched, easily accessible and engaging work that tells the story of the corporate and government assaults on environmental and animal rights activists, which has led to dozens of arrests, and numerous convictions — including some with so-called “terrorism enhancements.” Potter explains in clear terms the development of repressive legislation, identifies the major corporations and lobbying units involved, and illuminates the emergence of a policing apparatus that has enforced the criminalization of a wide array of dissenters in the name of “anti-terrorism.”

We hope in this review to supportively, but critically, explore Potter’s book. We do this first by summarizing the volume, then by relaying a story from our own past, which is briefly mentioned in Potter’s work. We think that the conclusions from our own experiences add to the story Potter tells, and may point to other ways to think about the development of the Green Scare. From here, we want to think through the meaning of the Green Scare by questioning the concept in relation the more generalized state of siege that activists and other communities are under, as well as the co-optation of the environmental and animal rights movements.

Green is the New Red

This volume is divided into eleven chapters that span the course of thirty years, but focus primarily on the last twenty. Potter begins with his own limited experience of animal rights activism in Chicago, which led to attempted intimidation by FBI agents who told him that, unless he cooperated and provided them information, he would be labeled a terrorist. Potter’s story is alarming although by no means unique particularly in the post-September 11 period.

The majority of the book is focused on two major subjects: those convicted under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act (AEPA) as part of the “SHAC 7” (the handful of activists involved in the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty campaign, who also received convictions for conspiring “to violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act” (AETA)); and those arrested in Operation Backfire for Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and Animal Liberation Front (ALF) actions that occurred in the West and Northwest near around the millennium turn. SHAC, the ELF, as well as the ALF, are often grouped together under the rubric of “eco-terrorism,” though not a single individual was harmed in any of the hundreds of ELF or ALF actions.

The SHAC convictions were focused on the organization’s website, which functioned as a clearinghouse for information for direct-action — activists could use this information for interventions against individuals and corporations with ties to Huntingdon Life Sciences. The multi-pronged approach worked, as underground actions combined with relentless above ground protests succeeded in shifting business as usual — the SHAC campaign was so successful in targeting Huntingdon that it wiped the corporation from the New York Stock Exchange and nearly caused it to go bankrupt.

The Operation Backfire arrests focused on a series of arsons committed under the name of the ELF by a group of about 20 people. The arrests sprang from the work of Jacob Ferguson, the first person to ever commit an ELF arson in the U.S., who later began to work for the FBI to round up his past comrades. Ferguson was able to escape without jail time in this case because he was so instrumental in solving the string of ELF actions, which had caused millions of dollars in damage. Some of those convicted in the Operation Backfire incidents received “terrorism enhancements,” which could add significant years to their sentences and increase the hardship they faced throughout their prison terms and after release.

In order to explain the development of the Green Scare and the notion of “eco-terrorism,” Potter has to explain a significant amount of history. Accordingly, we are treated to a succinct and well-conceived explanation of the development of post-‘60s environmental radicalism in the States. There is also a lengthy and insightful analysis of the word “terrorism,” which, as Potter points out, is rarely clear in meaning, ever-expanding, and always intended to “demonize the other.”

The ALF first appeared in the 1980s but the use of arson was not used until later. As ALF actions increased underground during the 1990s, above ground activism intensified and their combined effectiveness led the animal-product industry to actively lobby for repressive legislation. Similarly, as environmentalism gained ground and was increasingly effective in the 1980s and 1990s, the industries under pressure from environmentalists began to work hard to target activists and prevent further victories. Accordingly, Potter points out that corporations “needed to displace activists from their moral highground,” and “[a] key development in orchestrating this fall from grace was the decision to wield the power of language.” He points out that a lobbyist from the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise coined the absurdly defined term “eco-terrorism” — “a crime committed to save nature,” in 1983. Think tanks like the Center for Consumer Freedom, Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, the National Association for Biomedical Research, and others have had influence on politicians and in political discourse, which has played a significant role in labeling direct action, or support of direct action in the case of SHAC, as “terrorism.” As corporations and think tanks have built relationships with congress and developed PR campaigns, and as legislation has been passed and “anti-terrorism” has become the driving force in law enforcement, animal rights and environmental activists have increasingly seen even banal behavior, like flyering, become criminalized.

Potter traces environmental and animal rights intra-movement developments along with those in legislation and discourse. The ELF’s use of arson and sabotage caused a split inside Earth First!, which was undoubtedly the cutting edge of radical environmentalism in the States during the ’80s and ’90s. In the post-September 11 period some of the major environmental organizations have actively supported legislation that explicitly targets direct-action-oriented environmentalists; some have passively supported the repression of targeted activists through refusals to speak out in support of them during their cases. The above-ground animal rights movement has also had a tricky relationship with underground activists; although groups like PETA have refused to denounce ALF actions. As activists have found legal, above-board action insufficient to deal with issues like vivisection and factory farming, some have taken to clandestine direct action to damage the animal-abuse industries.

Environmental and animal rights activists have become targets due to the effectiveness of their campaigns that cut into profit margins. Further, Potter points out that within the policing apparatus “anti-terrorism” is a significant career ladder for individual agents. Particularly following Sept. 11, the government has sought to sponsor and fund “anti-terrorism” initiatives that then need to locate targets to justify themselves. Potter’s research on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which brings together state lawmakers, think tanks and corporations to draft legislation is particularly salient. Potter points out that “[b]y 2010, thirty-nine states had passed laws carving out special protections for animal and environmental enterprises and special penalties for activists.” In 2006, in light of the ELF, ALF, and the SHAC campaign, the Animal Enterprise Protection Act was expanded to create the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act – this was done, simply, to increase the penalties activists faced for using direct action. And activists have felt the pressure of this change, where simple actions of flyering can bring the wrath of being called, and punished as an “eco-terrorist,” or simply a “terrorist.”

The feeling of terror that activists have thus felt, and the crazy but very real ways the government has codified processes that evoke it, are at the core of Potter’s notion of the Green Scare, which of course harkens back to the anti-Communist hysteria of the 1950s (he does not address the first Red Scare that targeted the Industrial Workers of the World and others around the 1920s). Potter’s argument here is that the second Red Scare, like the Green Scare today, functioned through legislative, legal and extra-legal levels — the latter, “scare-mongering,” he argues “was by far the most dangerous” because it had the “sole intention of instilling fear.” Potter does not argue that we are today seeing something equivalent to the Red Scares of old, but rather something historically contingent, which thrives from the confluence of corporate involvement in American politics, the power of PR campaigns and the post-September 11 political environment.

In his discussion of SHAC, the ELF, ALF, and the Operation Backfire convictions, Potter successfully humanizes those who have been targets of anti-“eco-terrorism” efforts. The SHAC defendants had long histories in organizations like Food Not Bombs and a variety of charitable groups. Operation Backfire defendant Daniel McGowan, the subject of the recent documentary “If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front”, is the son of a New York City police officer, who felt an urgency to save the environment after painfully experiencing the ineffectiveness of above ground activism. Though efforts were taken to avoid injuring any human being in any action — and these efforts have always been successful — people like Daniel have been labeled “terrorists” and imprisoned in the Communications Management Unit, which some have labeled “little Guantanamo.”

In contrast, Potter powerfully points out that right-wing activists, particularly those who have waged brutal campaigns against abortion providers and in the course harmed human beings, have rarely been a target of anti-terror legislation. He points out that for the FBI, “in the three years following September 11, every act of domestic terrorism, except for one, was the work of animal rights and environmental activists.” In contrast, he points out that “[f]rom 1977 to 2008, anti-abortion activists committed eight murders” — in addition to the hundreds of other acts that include assaults, arsons, vandalisms, bomb threats, death threats, and anthrax threats — and “[n]one of these crimes are recorded by the FBI as acts of domestic terrorism.” In 2005 the FBI publicly announced that “The No. 1 domestic terrorism threat is the eco-terrorism, animal-rights movement…” That’s the absurdity of the current circumstance.

With this brief summary in mind, we now turn toward our own experience with anti-“eco-terrorism” efforts in order to expand on Potter’s story and raise some questions. We want to stress that our points and questions are comradely in intent. Potter’s work adds to our understanding of the current situation, and deepens the sophistication of activist attempts to understand repressive state and corporate activities today. There’s just more to say.

Days We Struggle to Remember

In April of 1998 a handful of radicals on Long Island formed the Modern Times Collective. In our approximately four years of existence we attracted significant local attention, especially for a small group spread across many miles that compose suburban Suffolk and Nassau Counties. Various press outlets ran stories on what they called a ‘rag tag’ group of radicals organizing small protests and cultural events such as DIY flea markets. Significant players in the establishment-Left on Long Island categorized us as “bomb throwing anarchists,” for little more reason than that we challenged the overwhelmingly boring and ineffective approach to social justice politics so dominant in the area at the time. Then, in early 2001, the FBI arrested Conor Cash, one of our main organizers, and charged him with conspiracy to commit arson as part of the ELF, which had committed a series of actions in the region during the last days of 2000. On Sept. 19, 2001 his charges were upped to include a “terrorism enhancement” that could have added decades to a potential sentence if convicted — he became the first person to be charged as a “domestic terrorist” after Sept. 11. He was swiftly acquitted after a two-week trial nearly three years later, in 2004. This is a story that while included in Potter’s narrative, only appears briefly. His basic summary of the case is as follows:

 By 2000, the FBI reassigned one of the Joint Terrorism Tasks Forces to investigate ELF arsons in Long Island, New York. The task force had previously investigated the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa and the first bombing of the World Trade Center. Then came September 11th.

Modern Times had thought, from early on, that we were being surveilled, if only because anarchist groups on Long Island are few and far between and we were also increasingly aware that we were part of a larger movement that was rapidly gaining momentum and visibility. As the turn of the millennium social justice protest cycle intensified in the U.S. –from the Millions for Mumia march in Philadelphia, where we participated in one of the first significant black blocs on U.S. soil, through the Battle of Seattle, International Monetary Fund and World Bank protests in DC, the 2000 Republican and Democratic Conventions, the Free Trade Area of the Americas resistance in Quebec, and so on — we became more and more aware of policing, surveillance and, to some extent, infiltration. Simultaneously, we became swept up in what we perceived as a new cycle of struggle.

In 2000, Modern Times members inspired by Reclaim the Streets (RTS) actions in New York City and Britain, organized a local May Day protest, where a few dozen people held a main intersection in Huntington Village with a street party for about an hour during a busy shopping weekend day. Our desire to disrupt privatized-public space and create a ‘carnival against capital,’ was complemented by the attention we sought to bring to rising living expenses and falling wages. It was an important coup for us in the end, as we successfully disrupted traffic and business in a place that isn’t well known for its use of direct action or proliferating radicalisms. For a short period of time, as the crowds gathered around, it was irresistible. For the FBI and local police, who videotaped the event from start to finish, it was alarming; taken in the context of our increasing involvement in national street mobilizations, it was particularly concerning for them.

As street mobilizations like RTS were gaining momentum, and local manifestations of the global justice movement developed in numerous areas across the U.S., repressive rhetoric on the part of the government intensified. Thus, on May 10, 2001, in light of the increasing presence of radical protests and organizing, the federal government declared RTS a terrorist organization. An FBI reported explained,

 Anarchists and extremist socialist groups — many of which, such as the Workers’ World Party, Reclaim the Streets, and Carnival Against Capitalism –have an international presence and, at times, also represent a potential threat in the United States. For example, anarchists, operating individually and in groups, caused much of the damage during the 1999 World Trade Organization ministerial meeting in Seattle.

Our local Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) — the locally based coalitions of FBI agents and police departments that focus on disrupting and stopping “terrorism” — began following Modern Times members by May of 2000; this was confirmed during court testimony. The JTTF/FBI agent charged with pursuing the case against our friend had been flown to Seattle and later to Philadelphia to learn about protestors and anarchists, and to use this information in his work on Long Island.

Starting in November 2000 and continuing through to early January 2001, the ELF claimed responsibility for a string of actions at construction sites and a duck farm. The FBI started door knocking, targeting some of those arrested during the May Day RTS protest the MTC organized. They offered monetary compensation to at least one member of Modern Times, who was also an organizer of the RTS action, to infiltrate the ELF culture that the government presumed he had access to; he turned their offer down and later testified about it in court as a defense witness. The FBI had determined Conor to be a leader in the MTC, and hence, the ELF. During the RTS action he sat on top of the 21 foot tripod that allowed us to hold the street and unfurled a banner that read “this is what democracy looks like,” with a circle around the ‘A’ in democracy. In August of that year he would be arrested along with three dozen other Modern Times members at the 2000 Republican National Convention protests in Philadelphia. A few months later, Conor was arrested — supposedly for playing a leading role in the ELF actions.

What became clear to many of us before 2004, but certainly during our friend’s trial, was that the government’s case was much less about specific incidents of arson or vandalism than it was about breaking apart our communities and slowing down the ‘movement of movements’ — even in the suburbs, even on Long Island. We watched as the FBI showed a clearly doctored video during the trial — and we laughed at such an impressive example of tragic comedy, but that concocted video was used as evidence against someone we loved. One of those convicted for the ELF actions, a cooperating witness and high school student at the time of his arrest, stated bluntly on the stand that the FBI had “coerced” him. The FBI had the gall to visit a prominent New York University professor the eve before he testified for the defense to question him about his testimony. Perhaps most ridiculous, was that at the center of the government’s case was this argument: because Conor had a ‘circle-A’ tattoo on his shoulder, and the ‘A’ in democracy was circled on the banner during our May Day protest, and because someone had spray-painted a circle-A symbol at one of the arson sites, clearly our friend was guilty. That was the plain of absurdity the U.S. government played on. Absurd. Tragic, but real; and terrifying, which, of course was their point.

In “Green is the New Red” Potter points to this case, stating that the government’s “first victory against the number one domestic terrorism threat was the conviction of three seventeen-year-old high school students” (this requires a slight clarification — three people were convicted, two of these functioned as cooperating witnesses against Cash, and a mysterious fourth who confessed to involvement to the FBI, according to court testimony, was never formally charged).

In our view, this case deepens and complicates Potter’s account in a couple of important ways. First, it points to the fact that pre-September 11 the government had sought to vilify radical activists, like those who host unpermitted street parties, as “terrorists,” and to target them accordingly. Secondly, in our view, it points to the importance of placing the Green Scare within context of the counter-globalization struggles at the turn of the millennium.

The Seattle resistance against the World Trade Organization in 1999, and the organizing surrounding it, was a watershed moment in U.S. social movement history. The “Battle of Seattle” is referenced various times in the book — indeed, some of those convicted as part of Operation Backfire were involved in protesting at the WTO and in the infamous black bloc actions — but Potter does not adequately draw out how the state conceived of “Seattle,” nor its consequences, and does not adequately draw out the organizing surrounding it, which upped the ante for both the movements and the state. For example, as mentioned above, RTS had been designated a “terrorist” threat at least months before Sept. 11, but Potter does not mention this in the book. This designation occurred largely in the context of the Seattle actions. That perception, and the government concern about the global justice movement, certainly played an important, indeed decisive role in our experience with repression on Long Island.

The counter-globalization protests against the WTO in Seattle shows up in various Green Scare indictments and in the narratives of various activists mentioned in the book. And certainly some of those involved in the ELF actions in the Northwest, those targeted in Operation Backfire, would point to this moment as anomalous, inspirational and motivational. Notably, for example, current ELF political prisoner Daniel McGowan, whose case is a major focus of Potter’s work, stated to one of us in a personal conversation that the oft quoted slogan spray painted on buildings during the Seattle protests — “We are winning” — was taken by him and others as a sign of radicals actually winning. We felt similarly, although we turned down different roads.

Indeed, the years surrounding the turn of the century were a time when a culmination of decades of radicalism came to a crescendo. Activisms exploded nationally — not just in the environmental and animal rights movements, but in the anti-corporate movements, the myriad of immigrant rights struggles, the prison justice movements, and various others; these struggles challenged the bottom line and impacted popular discourse, to the detriment of corporate profits, in critical ways. As corporations and politicians sought to stifle the environmental and animal rights movements, the rhetoric of “terrorism” and pre- and post-September 11 government repression intensified because the policing apparatus also sought to dismantle the counter-globalization movements — both their local manifestations and their militant street demonstrations. In our view this context is very important for understanding both movement history and the development of government repression over the past couple of decades.

 Is Green the New Red?

Potter’s research is particularly impressive in tracing the roots of the two major pieces of legislation against the animal rights movement — the Animal Enterprise Protection Act (1992) and its expanded and amended version, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (2006). The former was created in the context, at least rhetorically, of numerous ALF actions in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The latter development is contextualized through the SHAC campaign and is largely about intensifying penalties faced by activists and increasing the risk associated with animal rights activism. What Potter shows throughout his work is that a well-funded group of industry lobbyists and think tanks, their politician friends and allies, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), have created a web of legislation and policing powers intended to dismantle earth and animal rights campaigns, and to punish activists, like those convicted for politically motivated arsons.

Potter’s ultimate point is that the Green Scare is not just about money, not about profits alone. Rather, he argues, the repression is about spreading fear and about winning a “culture war” — “[t]he only way to explain the conflation of mainstream and radical groups as terrorists is to assume that all of it — from ballot initiatives to sabotage — poses a threat.” He summarizes:

Ultimately, the rise of the Green Scare was no conspiracy. It does not seem to be the result of any secret planning document drafted jointly by industry and the FBI. The shift was gradual, slowly merging the rhetoric of industry groups with that of politicians and law enforcement. Eventually, what was once a fringe argument became official government policy.

Potter’s case is strong, but calling this all “the Green Scare,” while compelling, isn’t sufficient or precise enough given the context. While corporations and the state have certainly targeted activists as “eco-terrorists,” too many other populations have been targeted simultaneously for repression to sufficiently pair the Red Scares and the Green Scare. This would require almost endless caveats about the substantive differences between the two. That doesn’t make this volume less valuable, but rather speaks to the need more nuanced analyses and broader conceptualizations of the current situation.

This bigger picture extends far beyond the counter-globalization movement, and far beyond the animal rights and environmental movements. It extends to Middle Eastern and Islamic communities that are only marginally mentioned here, even though these communities have faced the brunt of the government’s daily assault in the name of “anti-terrorism.” It also extends to the massive round up and deportation of immigrant peoples after the successful Sí, Se Puede movements defeated a major piece of federal anti-immigrant legislation — the Sensenbrenner Bill – in 2006. It extends to the arrests of Black Panthers for decades-old charges. It extends to the rhetoric used against anti-nuke, South African divestment, and Central American Solidarity activists roughly twenty years ago.

While it’s understandable to focus on animal rights and environmental activists, who have been one significant focus of government and corporate attacks, one is left to wonder how something like the Green Scare relates to a much larger situation where all of society has been mobilized to be on consistent alert for “threats,” and to be constantly ready to become police in the day-to-day. How do we read the many scares in the name of “anti-terrorism,” –one inclusive of the assault on environmentalists and animal rights activists and the many, many others who’ve suffered similar repression in recent decades? How do we read the many “scares” and develop a coherent concept that reflects the intensified repression in the name of “anti-terrorism?” Is it better to think about “Green” as a “new red,” rather than the new red?

Additionally, it also seems worthwhile to explore the differences between the ELF and SHAC in terms of effectiveness and repression when describing and thinking through the Green Scare. Potter doesn’t effectively differentiate environmental and animal rights groups. While the powers that be may see them as interchangeable, and composed of many of the same activists, it’s highly doubtful that they always are, and it’s not necessarily clear that in terms of repression that the government sees them as the same. In terms of effectiveness, each used a different approach – including entirely different models, approaches to research, approaches to media, and tactics – and weighing these out seems worthwhile for understanding how activists have impacted social change. In terms of repression, we were also left with some curiosity in thinking through the Green Scare. The framing of Green Scare came into being prior to the SHAC 7 trial, prior to the cooperation of many of the Operation Backfire defendants, though four of the latter individual pled guilty while maintaining a non-cooperating stance with the government. There was no clear reformulation of the concept with these developments since that point.

If under the second Red Scare most people did not commit the “crime” of involvement with the Communist movement, but under Operation Backfire those accused turned out to actually be involved in the ELF, how do we perceive the meaning of the Green Scare in thinking through government repression? Does this conceptualization need to be more nuanced? It also seems worthwhile to explore fundamental differences between how the repression against the SHAC 7 and the Operation Backfire functioned; since, for those considering a defense against future and current repression it is important to understand these particulars and the aspects of the situation they are encountering.

Perhaps most controversially within our own communities, we were also left with questions related to issues of political economy. Potter discusses FBI targeting of mainstream groups like PETA, and the impression one gets is that environmentalism and animal rights as a whole face repression, and are threats to the established order of some sort. Potter makes a point similar to this explicitly when describing the theoretical strands that underlie contemporary animal rights and environmental organizing: “Their confluence is the redefinition of what it means to be a human being.” Going on, he summarizes a DHS report that argued “Animal rights and environmental movements directly challenge civilization, modernity and capitalism,” and directly quotes the report as saying that if victorious these movements “not only would fundamentally alter the nature of social norms regarding the planet’s living habitat and its living organisms, but ultimately would lead to a new system of governance and social relationships that is anarchist and antisystemic in nature.”

This is debatable. Capital is tricky, and what was liberatory one moment is a profitable investment the next, and sometimes there is never a separation between the two. Green capitalism is a major industry and it only looks to be growing. Co-opting the language of environmentalism has been profitable for sectors of capital in the current crisis as — buzzwords such as ‘sustainable,’ ‘green,’ ‘local,’ and even ‘vegan’ become opportunities for new markets. Indeed, the animal rights movement is gaining significant cultural ground. But even as vegans ourselves, we are under no illusion that a shift toward healthier, somewhat less brutal diets, in anyway leads to some sort of gradual process toward a more liberatory, post-capitalist world. How the growth of more compassionate capitalism as a direct response to the supposed threat of the animal rights and environmental movements is very much unclear. These aren’t questions that Potter’s volume sought to tackle, but it is worthwhile to point out the issues here.

In conclusion, in “Green is the New Red,” Potter did an impressive job tracing the various threads that played a role in developing the contemporary animal rights and environmental movements. In doing so, we are offered the opportunity to follow the leads and learn more. Potter has created an easily accessible volume that helps document some of the dangers radicals currently face. And while one can only hope the book reaches far and wide, it is important to consider the various scares — green, red, and otherwise — that are both acts of violence against our movements and part of the State’s attempt at creating a society without said movements. We must roll our sleeves as well — there are many waves of repression to fight against and a new world to work for.

Craig Hughes and Kevin Van Meter co-edited, with Team Colors Collective, “Uses of a Whirlwind: Movement, Movements and Contemporary Radical Currents in the United States” (AK Press, 2010) and co-authored the short book “Wind(s) From Below: Radical Community Organizing to Make a Revolution Possible” (Team Colors & Eberhardt Press, 2010). Both have been involved in various organizing efforts together over the past 14 years. Hughes and Van Meter, along with Conor Cash, are currently writing a chapter titled “The Curious Case of Conor Cash” for a forthcoming volume on counter counter-insurgency.

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A balance of the sexes: How men and women can better protect forests together

A balance of the sexes: How men and women can better protect forests together

Photo by Tim Cronin/CIFOR

Posted 21 August 2011, by Catriona Moss, Forests Blog (Center for International Forestry Research), blog.ctfor.org

BOGOR, Indonesia (22 August, 2011)_Forest user groups that are dominated by women are less likely to adopt sustainable forest management practices than those groups that are mixed or dominated by men, according to a recent study.

“The study challenges the traditionally held view that, because women are more dependent on forest resources and spend more time in the forest, that they are natural ‘conservators’ and more likely to engage in sustainable forest management.” said Esther Mwangi, CIFOR Scientist and co-author of the recent article ‘Gender and Sustainable Forest Management in East Africa and South America’, in Ecology and Society.

Instead researchers at the Centre for International Forestry Research and the International Food Policy Research Institute found that gender biases in technology access and dissemination of new forestry methods, labour constraints and the limitation of women’s sanctioning authority, were possible factors that limited the ability of women to engage in sustainable forest management practices.

The study highlights the need for further research into how the complementary skills sets of both men and women could be used to protect forests from deforestation and degradation which will be vital if climate change mitigation schemes, such as REDD+, will work.

Women as ‘natural conservators ‘of the forest

Traditionally, women have been seen as the main and most frequent collectors of forest products, and with the added responsibility of feeding a family, more burdened by the deterioration of the forest. Previous studies which have examined the role of women in community forestry found that, when included, women have been successful in restoring degraded lands.

The research suggests that unlike men, who mainly specialise in timber production, the vast array of forest products collected by women is said to result in increased monitoring and conservation of forest resources. Women also tend to adopt more environmentally friendly practices, such as terracing and taungya, the cultivation of fodder trees and lead campaigns against tree grazing.

However, despite an increased recognition of the role that women play, gender biases still marginalise women and their participation in community forestry.  Women tend to be excluded from decision making and are less likely to see the benefits. They are mostly involved in decision making when trees and forest are already degraded or as negotiators in conflict.

Studies have shown that securing women’s land rights is a powerful incentive to conserve forest, but often these rights are not formally recognised, and women are generally allocated much smaller plots of land to manage. A lack of education, employment and access to networks means that women are at a disadvantage when it comes to influencing key decisions in community forestry and the sustainable management of the forests.

Gender differences in the sustainable use of the forest

The study made a comparison of 151 forest user groups in 67 forest sites across East Africa and Latin America from 1993 until 2003. It examined how different forest users comprising of ‘low’, ‘medium’ and ‘high’ proportions of women were engaged in sustainable forest management techniques. These included; the adoption of new technologies to reduce forest dependence, such as bee keeping; techniques to improve the conditions of the forest such as tree planting, regular monitoring and sanctioning to regulate harvesting levels; and conflict management behaviours.

It found that female dominated groups were 25% less likely to invest in forest improving technologies compared with male dominated ones. One likely assumption based on previous research was that Forest Extension Officers, who kept communities up to date with the latest forestry technologies and techniques, were much more likely to visit males.  Also, many technologies, such as bee keeping and seedling planting, required the purchasing of equipment or seedlings and women often had less control over or access to cash.

Gender differences were more prevalent in relation to carrying out regeneration activities.  It found that groups with a higher percentage of women engaged in fewer activities, such as tree planting and weeding, than predominately male of mixed groups, as these were more labour and time intensive. The same reason may also account for why women performed poorly in monitoring and sanctioning due to the distances that needed to be covered, and the dangers of patrolling the forest for fear of harassment from forestry officials.

Also, men are traditionally seen as the voice of authority to administer fines and penalties when forest rules are borken, whereas women were reluctant to take on this role for fear of jeopardizing relationships. In terms of conflict, although the findings were insignificant across all three categories, it found that a higher proportion of females in user groups decreased incidences of violence which seems to support previous research that demonstrates that women are more likely to develop stronger bonds and have better cooperation. Wealth, forest size and the presence of forest based NGOs or government organisations were much more likely to have an influence on the number of forest conflicts.

A ‘mixed’ solution to sustainable development?

The authors argue that ‘mixed’ groups could offer one of the most effective solutions to sustainable forest management by exploiting the skills and strengths of both men and women. Mixed groups, could for example, take advantage of men’s’ capacity to harness new technologies and resource management, whilst at the same time benefiting from women’s’ ability to manage cooperation and strengthen group solidarity.

It also suggests that in the future, new technologies that that help to conserve the forest should be aimed at women to ensure their adoption, taking into account their time constraints and by providing the skills necessary to ensure its continuation. Men, also need to be made aware of the benefits of having women involved in the management forest.

“It is intuitive that men and women working together would produce better outcomes, but given their gender roles and interests, they don’t commonly work together and often use the forest in different ways. We need a better understanding of how mixed groups come about and the interactions and roles of women and men in these groups,” said Mwangi.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the Center for International Forestry Research.
Content may be published by others according to a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommerical-Share Alike License.

http://blog.cifor.org/3998/a-balance-of-the-sexes-how-men-and-women-can-better-protect-forests-together/

Be Fruitful and Multiply

Be Fruitful and Multiply

Posted 16 August 2011, by Karen Gushta, The Christian Post, christianpost.com

You may have missed the birth of celebrity couple Victoria and David Beckham’s fourth child in July, but Simon Ross, head of the British nonprofit, Population Matters, didn’t. Mr. Ross told Britain’s Observer that the Beckhams and London Mayor Boris Johnson, who likewise has four children, “are very bad role models with their large families. There’s no point in people trying to reduce their carbon emissions and then increasing them 100% by having another child.”

As the Wall Street Journal noted, Population Matters “sees ‘overpopulation’ as a culprit in everything from African famine to resource scarcity to poverty to climate change.”

The notion that a family with four children is “large” speaks of the change in attitudes toward family size in recent times. The famous 18th century composer, J. S. Bach, had 20 children.

Susanna Wesley, mother of Methodist ministers John and Charles, gave birth to 19 and she herself had 24 siblings. But today 19 children is enough to garner Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar a reality television show that satisfies the curiosity of millions who wonder “how can they do it!”

While many may be fascinated by the Duggars, they horrify the zero population growth (ZPG) movement. Across the internet, articles mock the “quiver full” movement among Christians who take the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 127:3-5 literally: “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them.” According to the ZPG movement, fertility rates world-wide should remain static at the replacement level. In this way the earth can attain long-term “environmental sustainability.”

“Zero Growth” is also popular among America’s billionaires, as Dr. Calvin Beisner of the Cornwallis Alliance for Stewardship of Creation points out. “Bill Gates, David Rockefeller Jr., Warren Buffett, George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Ted Turner (who says, ‘We’re too many people, that’s why we have global warming’), and Oprah Winfrey all favor reducing human population, in part to forestall global warming. President Obama’s science advisor John Holdren has advocated abortion and other involuntary measures to fight population growth.”

The fact is, however, as Dr. Beisner explains, when you do the math it becomes clear that even without the use of abortion and other “involuntary measures,” the earth’s population is shrinking, not growing. Dr. Beisner calculates that “at a [current] birth rate of 1 million every 4 days, it would take 73.4 years to replace the world’s population. With the world’s average life expectancy hovering around 67, that means 1 million births every 4 days is below replacement rate, which would entail that population is shrinking now, not growing.”

Some have proposed a Zero Growth Creed which begins, “We believe the Earth, our home, the most beautiful in all the heavens, is a finite sphere. Copious as she has been in the riches she has bestowed upon us, her beneficence is not without limit….” Clearly, according to this view, God is not the source of blessing upon humankind, the Earth is-and “her beneficence is not without limit.”

Another faith statement codifying the sacredness of the Earth is the Earth Charter. Deeply religious, it is anything but Christian. However, its language appeals to Christians by calling for the protection of the Earth as a “sacred trust” and stating that we should “live with reverence for the mystery of being, gratitude for the gift of life, and humility regarding the human place in nature.”

Lest we be deceived by phrases such as “sacred trust” and “gratitude for the gift of life,” we should take note of what Dr. Beisner says about environmentalism in his essay, The Competing World Views of Environmentalism and Christianity. “[E]nvironmentalism has become a full-fledged religion in its own right. It is the most comprehensive substitute in the world today for Christianity so far as world view, theology, ethics, politics, economics, and science are concerned….”

In his book, Resisting the Green Dragon: Dominion, Not Death, James Wanliss explains that environmentalists “idealize nature as an intrinsic good-they refuse to admit that God has cursed the cosmos, that its present natural state is not good.” As Wanliss states, “The natural is so idealized and exalted that the idea of man improving the land is, by environmentalists, counted as an oxymoron and abomination.”

In 1990, Dr. D. James Kennedy saw that idolization and idealization of the planet would diminish man’s ability to use the abundance of potential resources with which God has stocked the earth for our benefit. In an article, “To Tend the Earth: Our Christian Responsibility,” he wrote that such a worldview “can only make our life on earth miserable, as every resource we need to live is declared off-limits for the sake of that jealous goddess, ‘Mother Earth.’” Dr. Kennedy predicted what is now taking place in places where the federal government is turning once-cultivated lands into “wilderness preserves.” “Our idolization of nature will turn our world into a howling wilderness,” wrote Dr. Kennedy.

By contrast, the Christian view of nature is set in the context of God’s instructions to the human race given at the dawn of creation and recorded in Genesis 1:26-28. Dr. Kennedy explicated this passage, writing:

God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness….” He went on to say He blessed man and told him to be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth. Man is to subdue the earth and have dominion over all its creatures. This is called the “Cultural Mandate” because it deals with all culture as we know it. As god’s junior partners, we are to care for-or tend-the earth in His name. Here, in a nutshell, is God’s environmental, as well as His sociological, political, and institutional agenda.

At the heart of all idolatry is disobedience of the first commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Environmentalists who worship the earth are yet another example of those who, as the Apostle Paul said, “exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Romans 1:25).

Should Christian’s limit the size of their families for fear that the earth will not be able to sustain us? God says, “Be fruitful and multiply.” As He promised Noah when He placed His bow in the heavens, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.” All is in His care, and He will sustain the earth until the day when “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout” and “we shall always be with the Lord” in the new heaven and earth.

Dr. Karen Gushta is research coordinator at Truth in Action Ministries (formerly Coral Ridge Ministries) and author of The War on Children: How Pop Culture and Public Schools Put Our Kids at Risk. Dr. Gushta is a career educator who has taught at all levels, from kindergarten to graduate level teacher education, in both public and Christian schools in America and overseas. She has a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education from Indiana University and Masters degrees in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico and in Christianity and Culture from Knox Theological Seminary.

 

http://www.christianpost.com/news/be-fruitful-and-multiply-54042/

Congress cuts page program while EPA announces paid liberals-only internships

 

Congress cuts page program while EPA announces paid liberals-only internships

 

Posted 09 August 2011, by David Mastio, The Washington Times, .washingtontimes.com

Just as the House of Representatives was ending the 200-year-old page program to save $5 million a year, the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency sent out an email touting the expansion of its “Eco-ambassador program” to include $6,000-8,000 paid internships just for those with an interest in “environmental justice.” In short, a liberals only internship.

Says the announcement:

EPA’s Student Diversity Internship Program EJ eco-Ambassador Focus
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the Environmental Justice (EJ) eco-Ambassador program. Last year Administrator Lisa P. Jackson introduced the EPA eco-Ambassador program with the goal to empower communities to be safer and healthier. We are happy to launch this internship program to focus on environmental justice, one of Administrator Jackson’s top priorities.

EPA is looking for energetic and highly motivated graduate level students to work on addressing environmental justice. Numerous opportunities are available within EPA for students to gain valuable work experience while contributing to the mission of protecting human health and the environment. Student internship opportunities are available at EPA’s regional offices nationwide through the EJ eco-Ambassador program.

Notice who who should apply:

(Students who) Have previously been involved or have a strong interest in environmental justice , social justice issues and/or environmental health disparities in an academic, volunteer and/ or employment setting.

So with one hand, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives shuts down a venerable non-political opportunity for high school students to save money the federal government doesn’t have. And with the other hand, on the same day, the Obama administration announces it is expanding a liberals-only internship program that we don’t need with money we don’t have.

Even though this web page doesn’t appear to have anything to do with “environmental justice” this is where the EPA’s email says you can apply to be part of this boondoggle.

 

 

http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/watercooler/2011/aug/9/congress-cuts-page-program-while-epa-announced-pai/

EPA Moves Toward Bisphenol A Rule

EPA Moves Toward Bisphenol A Rule

Regulations: Agency solicits comments on plan to require toxicity testing, environmental sampling

Posted 28 July 2011, by Britt Erickson, Chemical & Engineering News (American Chemical Society), pubs.acs.org

The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking input on whether it should require the chemical industry to conduct toxicity tests and environmental monitoring for the plastics chemical bisphenol A (BPA). The move is part of EPA’s action plan on BPA, first announced in March 2010, to address risks presented by the controversial estrogenic chemical (C&EN, April 5, 2010, page 8).

“A number of concerns have been raised about the potential human health and environmental effects of BPA,” says Stephen A. Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety & Pollution Prevention. “The data collected under the testing EPA is considering would help EPA better understand and address the potential environmental impacts of BPA.”

In particular, EPA is considering requiring chemical manufacturers to conduct toxicity testing to determine the potential of BPA to cause adverse health effects, including endocrine disruption, in environmental organisms. The agency is also considering having industry sample and monitor for BPA in the vicinity of chemical manufacturing plants and other places where it is expected to be released. EPA is not currently considering requiring additional toxicity testing for human health effects of BPA.

Although BPA has been shown to cause developmental and reproductive effects in laboratory animals, the chemical industry stands behind its safety, touting the fact that it has been used for more than 50 years. “The effects of BPA on the environment have been widely studied and it has been demonstrated that BPA is readily biodegradable—meaning it breaks down rapidly and does not linger in the environment—and does not bioaccumulate,” says Steven G. Hentges, executive director of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group at the American Chemistry Council, a chemical industry trade group. “Recent comprehensive assessments conducted in Europe and Japan concluded that BPA is not a risk to the environment as it is currently used.”

BPA is found in numerous consumer products including food can liners, polycarbonate plastic containers, epoxy paints and coatings, and cash register receipts. More than 1 million pounds of the chemical are released into the environment each year, according to EPA.

Chemical & Engineering News ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society

http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news/89/i31/8931news2.html

Tuna Farm Damaged By Animal Liberation Front

Tuna Farm Damaged By Animal Liberation Front

Posted 25 July 2011, by Staff, Atuna, atuna.com

Source: Times of Malta

A group calling itself the Animal Liberation Front has claimed responsibility for “liberating” Atlantic bluefin tuna by cutting the nets of “fattening pens” in St Paul’s Bay on Tuesday night.

“This species is on the brink of extinction and, therefore, we saw no other option to take action and free this highly endangered species,” the group said in the brief e-mail signed by “Jean Bobo”.

It is not known whether the international Animal Liberation Front, which, according to its website, campaigns to end the “institutionalized exploitation of animals”, was involved in this action. Questions sent to the international ALF and to “Jean Bobo” (by return e-mail) remained unanswered at the time of writing.

The owners of the net, Azzopardi Fisheries, said no tuna escaped despite the large hole close to the surface of the 50-metre diameter pen.

“Tuna tend to stay in the middle of the net as a group,” director Charles Azzopardi explained, adding, however, that the damaged net would cost €95,000 to replace.

He said this was an “unacceptable” attack on his property, considering he had all the permits and authorisation to breed tuna, something that, he stressed, was done under strict regulation.

“We cannot have a situation where people resort to violence because they do not agree with something. If they have a problem, they can meet us and we will discuss it. If they are right, we will stop our actions,” Mr Azzopardi said. “But if they are wrong, they should stop.”

He said a diver’s “knife kit” was found tangled in the net, indicating that the diver who damaged the net got stuck and endangered his life.

Mr. Azzopardi denied that the fish were on the brink of extinction, saying that anyone who was passionate about fishing knew the seas were full of fish at the moment.

The police did not reply to questions about the incident by the time of writing but it is understood that an investigation is underway.

Contacted for a reaction, a spokesman for the Minister of Resources and Rural Affairs George Pullicino said the ministry would wait for the outcome of the police investigation before commenting. “It must be pointed out, however, that, as always, the government unreservedly condemns any form of illegal action.”

Meanwhile, the Federation of Maltese Aquaculture Producers condemned “without reservation” the attack and called on the authorities to take all measures to bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent repeat acts of vandalism.

“Private individuals have no right to take the law into their hands to intervene or hinder commercial operations, especially when these are conducted according to law.”

The federation added that the vandalism was misguided and could have ended tragically. It said tuna fishing in the Mediterranean was carried out in a highly regulated manner, with an annual quota set “according to science” with the most stringent controls worldwide, making it sustainable. Growing concern about the precarious situation of bluefin tuna in particular led the European Commission to push, unsuccessfully, for tighter controls and reducing catches.

Meanwhile, activists from Sea Shepherd, which organizes similar direct actions at sea, yesterday issued an emergency call to its supporters to save their ship, the Steve Irwin, which has been detained by a Scottish court due to a pending lawsuit by a Maltese company. The company, Fish and Fish Limited, sued the conservation organization after its divers in June last year damaged its tuna nets and freed a large number of tuna.

The Sea Shepherd claims to have evidence to show the fish were caught illegally. But Captain Paul Watson warned supporters that the boat would be held indefinitely and possibly sold unless they raised $1.5 million to post a bond.

The Steve Irwin was about to depart on an anti-whaling campaign when it was detained.