by Panagioti, co-editor of the Earth First! Journal
Tim DeChristopher, Utah's "Bidder 70"
The eco-resistance movement is in the midst of a growth spurt. Cases like that of Tim DeChristopher, known as Utah’s Bidder 70, represent a significant change in the battlefield between ecology and industrialism; they whisper to the potential of a broad, massive civil disobedience movement. One that might embrace tactics which have thus far been relegated to the fringes of environmentalism in the US, with the exception of a few instances, like the Redwood campaign in northern California in the 90s, or perhaps the anti-nuke fights of the 70s and 80s.
DeChristopher refused to apologize and is now serving a 2 year sentence for his actions. He called for more to join his style of defiance.
Another 26 people were arrested at the courthouse following his sentencing, and since that time another couple hundred have been arrested at the White House, and elsewhere, during civil disobedience actions to display their opposition to tar sands infrastructure.
Walter Bond, awaiting sentencing in Utah
Sharing the county corrections facility in Utah is another political prisoner. Or a prisoner of war, as Walter Bond prefers to be known. Before Bond was arrested, he was known as “Lonewolf.” He was arrested for sabotage against directed against animal abuse, and in his view, against the entire industrial society that is dependent on exploitative industries. See our earlier post on Bond, “Green is the New Rage”
Bond is less likely to attract as broad of a crowd at his sentencing on October 13 (although people are mobilizing to support him.) But his case represents another potential component of the eco-resistance movement’s growth spurt. And while neither of these prisoners’ support groups may express overt affinity for each other, there is a new network forming who seem to be making a case that these two prisoners could have a lot more in common than one might think.
No, we’re not talking about Earth First! (we said new network, EF! is over 30 now… that’s no spring chicken!) We’re talking about Deep Green Resistance (DGR). The recently established organizing effort based on the recent book of the same name, spawning from Derrick Jensen’s Endgame books. DGR embraces an explicit strategy of building mass aboveground support for an underground movement that can dismantle industrial infrastructure. Similar perhaps to the support role that Quakers played in aboveground organizing which complimented the militant underground abolitionist efforts of Harriet Tubman or John Brown and company.
While the actions that Walter Bond was charged for may not represent the ideal strategy of dismantling infrastructure as DGR favors, his incarceration does pose the question of how to relate between the aboveground and underground eco-resistance movements.
How the official DGR representatives handle this issue has yet to be seen. As for the Earth First! Journal, we will continue supporting both of these prisoners.
Addresses and updates on their cases can be found at their support websites: Support Walter.org Bidder70.org (as of this post, Tim is in transit to a federal facility)