Beautiful Justice: Prayers for Roadkill

16 Jan

Cross posted from Deep Green Resistance News Service

By Ben Barker / Deep Green Resistance Wisconsin

I don’t know how this opossum died. There were no predator marks on thImage by Colin Purringtone body, and the middle of a highly frequented trail seems a peculiar place to make a death bed. Something forced this situation. Maybe it’s the poisons put on lawns, or the fact that this half-acre of trees is surrounded on all sides by cars and roads and houses. Opossums are indigenous to this land and under assault as surely as indigenous human cultures are. In the native Powhatan language, opossum is derived from the word apasum, which means “white animal.” They’ve long been the largest population of marsupials in the Western Hemisphere. But now, civilization encroaches upon the homes of all nonhumans, and opossums, despite adapting as scavengers, now struggle against a massive decrease in food and habitat.

The opossum deserved more. The passing of life into death deserves a deep respect and commemoration. There’s nothing so humbling. This is what is missing in the dominant culture, and what we all need to learn once again. If I could go back in time, and if I had the words, this is what I wish I had said.

Your life is not in vain. In all your time of living, you’ve contributed to the health and diversity of this place, and thus, to the health and diversity of the world. There are those of my species who not only fail to give back in this way, but actively destroy the world which gives them life. They are insane. They must be stopped. Your life, and all life, is sacred and infinitely more important than industrial civilization. I’m sorry that you had to live your final moments surrounded by this unnatural and immoral construct. I’m sorry that you did not get to properly say goodbye to this world. Your life is not in vain.

Here’s another story. My friend saw a deer who was hit so hard that he flew into another oncoming car. The impact literally tore his legs from his body. And yet another story: A doe stood on the side of the road mourning the body of her friend who had just been struck. This is their land. The roads and this civilization are ever-expanding—it’s a war, plain and simple. Just look on the side of the road. You’ll see.

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30 Responses to “Beautiful Justice: Prayers for Roadkill”

  1. dreadedwren January 16, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

    Beautiful. But maybe we could stop using words like “insane” to describe those who we find reprehensible, repugnant. In solidarity with the insane, and all people with Disabilities,

  2. ugh January 16, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

    So did DGR pay to get these new plugs on the EF! newswire like they did with the insert in the previous of the Journal?

    I know times are tough, but give me a break — everything about DGR sucks (and that’s putting it mildly!).

    You all know better than this, I’m sure of it.

    • Earth First! Journal Sonoran Office January 17, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

      Nope. We don’t receive funds for posts. DGR, Occupy, Idle No More, Tarsands Blockade and many other environmental and land rights groups are offered a voice to discuss actions, analysis and news on the newswire.

      • Ocean January 18, 2013 at 10:47 am #

        Why offer DGR a voice when they allow transphobia? If y’all aren’t familiar with that yet, please ask!

      • ugh January 18, 2013 at 11:11 am #

        The difference between the groups you mention should be pretty obvious: only Deep Green Resistance is an authoritarian group with a leader (Lierre Keith) who is notorious for being transphobic (the organization and Lierre Keith refuse to address her anti-trans views). I don’t see why you all would offer them space, either here or in the Journal. What could possibly be the benefit of promoting a group that has terrible politics (the authoritarian and anti-trans stuff is only the tip of a huge ice berg, check out the book — you’ll see)? It’s like you all are saying the other stuff doesn’t matter, which is absurd…

        Which brings me to another question that wasn’t answered, did the Journal receive money from DGR to have the Deep Green Strategy insert published an issue or two ago? That’s what I heard. Not trying to be a gossip, but it’s relevant to the conversation at hand.

  3. Earth First! Journal Sonoran Office January 18, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    Hey Ocean,

    Thanks for commenting. We are familiar with the issue involving Lierre Keith based on reports online here:

    Lierre Keith’s comments concerning trans-folk, and a host of other issues, perpetuate trans-phobia and harm the social justice and ecological movement she claims to herald. It is an issue that plagues our movement.

    And though we published an article by Lierre Kieth two years ago, unaware of those comments, we would no longer do so. We have a strict anti-oppression policy that you can read here:

    Discussing gender violence and oppression are important. If you do have more information please post it to this forum or email us at

    It would be great to figure out a way to engage the diverse people that associate with DGR and to create a forum to discuss this issue. From our experience, many at DGR are committed to uncovering gender violence and oppression and recognize its link as a key factor in the dominance of industrial civilization. It would be great if they were more robust in their discussion of this particular issue involving Lierre Keith, regardless of how touchy the issue of tackling the transphobia of a central thinker in their movement might be.

    • Ocean January 18, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

      Thanks for responding.

      Yeah, I don’t know. I mean, Keith’s statements (and your right about a whole host of other issues) are pretty well known by now. I feel like many DGR-er’s are aware of what she’s said, and I guess I’m not sure why we’d ally ourselves with their organization. Would it be so difficult to just stop promoting their work? With that, I don’t really understand why if the folks y’all have met who associate with DGR are “committed to uncovering gender violence and oppression and recognize its link as a key factor in the dominance of industrial civilization” continue to align themselves with a group whose main contributor is transphobic and authoritarian. I think if they were committed to that, then they’d leave the organization right away. People are smart, they know that this is messed up. Would we ever consider working with a group that has anti-immigrant messaging, but maybe say they care about the Earth? I really hope the answer would be “no”, but honestly I’m not so sure anymore that y’all would.

      Also, I too am now curious if the journal received funding from DGR to publish that insert…

  4. EF! J Collective Everglades Office January 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    Hey “Ugh” and other folks,
    To further clarify on the DGR insert in the Brigid 2012 issue of the Journal, they covered the cost of printing their insert, and assisted in some of the additional mailing costs. The EF! Journal has been making these sort of mutual arrangements with other organizations for most of the three+ decades it has been in print.

    If you think we made a bad call on publishing the DGR insert, or that we shouldn’t feature news from DGR in the future on the Newswire, perhaps it should be discussed next month at the OC, in person.

    While the virtual discussion here among mostly nameless, faceless people has some interesting points, its difficult to really explore these sort of challenges to the movement in online comments.

    And on a side note, we also publish “ads” and sometimes “classified”, ranging from freebies for groups who we simply feel deserve some exposure to exchanges and paid agreements with businesses who pay for a space (most often because they want to support us, not because they make bank off broke-ass Journal readers.)

    So no, you cannot buy space for an article (though we’ve debated how article-like and ad can be). But yes, there is money exchanged on multiple levels to publish and distribute the EF! Journal.

    There is also arguably more accountability, input and access to the publishing process here than any other publication out there. So keep the feedback coming.

    -Panagioti, EF! Journal Collective

    • ugh January 20, 2013 at 10:02 am #

      Thanks for publicly clarifying that DGR did indeed pay for the insert and some of the shipping costs. I didn’t intend for the other issues here–DGR’s politics and Lierre Keith’s transphobia–to get minimized. I understand the financial difficulties in keeping publications going and the tough choices that need to be made, but I think you all made a terrible, terrible choice in including the insert.

      Anyway, I’m still stuck on why the Newswire offers DGR space and reports on their stuff. You all seem to be up on Lierre Keith’s views, you all seem to understand other problematic aspects of her politics and writings–so why do it? What is it that is so important about including them that negates the other things or makes them not as important? And if we make those kind of choices and judgements, aren’t we ultimately saying that certain types of oppression/violence–i.e. against the earth–is more important than against trans folks?

      I know that nobody is saying that directly, but that seems to be the practical outcome of what is happening here. That kind of silencing and minimizing happens all the time. What further worries me is that EF! might not have the same willingness to look over things if other forms of oppression were at issue (for example, I’m pretty confident that you all wouldn’t promote a group where a prominent “leader” or publicly know figure was known for being a racist).

      Also, while maybe it would be nice to engage with some people in DGR, I don’t see what the point is when DGR has made it clear that they are unwilling to talk about and address Lierre Keith’s views. I think the Flying Brick infoshop (cited above) was onto something when they asked DGR to address it if they wanted to speak in the Flying Brick space. Not surprisingly (as they seem to do regularly), DGR refused to address issue.

      I think the Journal and the Newswire would be making a stronger statement if you all made it clear that DGR was not going to be covered in any way until the group addresses this issue in a substantive way.

      It seems that right now their way of doing it is to:

      1) not talk about it and say that it ignores “the real issue” of the planet being murdered

      2) say that it is an organization made up of individuals who can say what they want without officially representing DGR

      While the second point may be true, Lierre Keith has access to far more resources (i.e. speaking at conferences, media appearances, wrote the DGR book, etc) and clearly has more of a voice and access to a voice than some random person in DGR with messed up views.

      All of this about Keith has been known since DGR’s inception, but they still haven’t addressed it. Perhaps if they stopped getting coverage and access to places to speak, they’d have to have to.

      • Earth First! Journal Cascadia Office January 20, 2013 at 11:38 am #

        Again, we appreciate you comments. The Newswire publishes news from a variety of sites. I have personally cross-posted from places like the NY Times and The Economist, both very capitalist (racist, sexist, etc.) sources.
        This is a horizontally organized site, so people do what they feel is appropriate. The politics of purity work to an extent in non-heirarchically organized affinity groups that may or may not collaborate and/or associate, but the spontaneity involved in social movements generally requires a degree of license inclusive of oppositional and discursive hegemonic positions.
        By censoring or rejecting all interesting content from DGR, we become what we don’t like in Keith’s perspective; but by including the most poignant and insightful positions, we are able to sublate (in a process of Hegelian Aufhebung, if you like) the spirit of the ecological/environmental movement beyond the limits of DGR’s organizational form.
        There is difference of opinion amongst publishers to the Newswire, but mass struggle is a messy thing. Articles such as this one tug at the emotions, but they only manifest sentiment already present around the US. Ecodefense and social war may be different things, but they are connected. The diversity of tactics actualized by the hegemonies of mass movement are inevitable, and while DGR attempts to capitalize on such actions for the credit of their leaders, we are out there every day making a difference through solid, grassroots organizing paper wrenching, monkey wrenching, and so on. We are not unlike the organizers and activists of DGR, but we must first de-link and decolonize that hierarchical structure. We will not be compromised and we will not compromise.
        Let’s also remember that the insert from DGR was specifically drawn from McBay’s section, and formulated an analysis (flawed though it may have been) of the technical components that comprise resistance formations. Although it doesn’t discount your point about the problems of DGR, it shows that the EF!J was publishing an open and running discussion on strategy and tactics. The hierarchical structure that they presuppose can only form a kind of Leninist model of taking over ‘in the last instance’. So we have to stick together and watch each others’ backs. Solidarity forever, an injury to one is an injury to all, we won’t stop until they do!

  5. grow up January 19, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    Critiques of Lierre Keith and of DGR would have a lot more weight if folks could actually NAME what part of her opinions they disagree with. It’s really easy to namecall. It’s harder to have an actual discussion of her points, but anything less is doing ourselves and the movement a disservice.

    I’d say we should stop having stupid ideological disagreements and actually get some work done, but if we can’t do that, we could at least try and have a detailed and meaningful discussion of the issue.

    • Earth First! Journal Cascadia Office January 19, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

      Well, one critique of Lierre Keith’s position, which is laid out in the review of Deep Green Resistance published in the EF!J last year, is that she attempts after having maligned a particular viewpoint (e.g. anarchism, vegetarianism, trans and queer activism) to neutralize discourse by claiming that we should stop having disagreements and being sectarian.

    • ugh January 20, 2013 at 10:09 am #

      I take issue with her anti-trans views found here:

      That’s pretty clear.

      I also find the parts in DGR where she talks about brain sizes to be outrageous (she argues adults are naturally better leaders because they have bigger brains) and there is a strong current in her writing in DGR where she wants people to “grow up” and “act like adults,” implying that to have disagreements over tactics, strategy, etc is child-like–which of course is an age-ist and f’ed up view.

      There’s so much more, but those are good starts.

      • dreadedwren January 20, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

        Hey Ugh–I dig what you are saying. When EF!Cascadia wrote “The Newswire publishes news from a variety of sites. I have personally cross-posted from places like the NY Times and The Economist, both very capitalist (racist, sexist, etc.) sources.” I think they obscure the very critical point that the EF!journal moves in many of the same circles at DGR, shares resources, and therefor has a greater ability (and responsibility) to hold them accountable for their shit. We don’t share much ideological space with the likes of the Economist and NY Times, so using our resources to call them out might very well be spinning our wheels. But pulling support from DGE has a much bigger potential to pressure them into dealing with how they fucked up. We can communicate with them in a more material and significant way than we could the Times. i think it would be worth our while to explore how we can do that.

        I’m going to bring something up that I hope deepens this important conversation, not derails it. Intersectionality of oppression in eco-justice movements (like we’ve seen here with DGE and Trans justice) is a big damn deal. Sometimes it gets unpacked, and that shit is awesome. But other times it doesn’t. Not eve when peeps bring it up! one community that I feel gets the shit stick in eco-justice movements are People with Disabilities (see my first comment to this article, you know, the one all the way at the top that got zero feedback.) How many times do we hear “fuck cars! ride a bike!” or “the revolution will not be motorized!” or “Those developers/capitalists/bad guys are INSANE!” What the fuck, eco-peeps!? Not everyone’s body works as well as yours– cars, pharmaceuticals, air conditioning and heating–these give agency to people with Disabilities, and are things lots of people can’t do without. Can’t. Do. Without. But in our movement, we roundly use ableist language to describe those that destroy the earth as “blind, insane, mentally ill, deaf, etc.” Wecollectively fantasize about the “end of civilization.” Well, you are fantasizing about a world lots of us can’t live in. A world in which we die, or at the very least have no self determination. Dreaming about the end of oppression or capitalism doesn’t have to mean dreaming about the end of technology, especially when that technology keeps people alive. Check your privilege. Unpack transphobia AND ableism. It’ll make the movement stronger when everyone’s invited.

      • Earth First! Journal Cascadia Office January 20, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

        Agreed on that.

  6. Ocean January 21, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    @Earth First! Journal Cascadia Office

    Sorry I wasn’t able to comment directly on your previous comment.

    I honestly had a hard time understanding most of what you wrote. It seemed you used a lot of specialized academic language and philosophical concepts that I’m guessing many others (including myself) wouldn’t understand. Yup, dropped outta community college cuz I couldn’t afford it.

    Anyway, I feel like it just confused and complicated what was being talked about. That along with the comment about NYT and The Economist kind of made it seem like you just wanted to make yourself seem smarter and deflect the criticism. drededwren offered up a very good and accurate perspective on that.

    From what I could tell you seemed leery of discounting DGR as a whole out of fear that they may have something to offer, if I’m understanding you properly. I can kind of understand, but it seems like we’re talking about a group that most of the people here seem to have real misgivings about. So I don’t see why we’re worried about it. And let’s remember too that the the stuff with Keith isn’t just a “disagreement”, it’s that she believes a certain segment of people don’t really exist (and not to mention uses racism to reinforce that belief, unashamedly).

    To me the whole thing seems like if you were to publish an insert from the National Socialist Movement because they had some “good” perspectives on conservation, abolishing land speculation, and setting aside wild areas (which they do), but ignored the fact that they also want the destruction of people of color and the supremacy of the white race.

    I really hope that you take this stuff into consideration.

    • Earth First! Journal Cascadia Office January 21, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

      Hey, sorry that stuff went over your head. I tried to use hyperlinks so that if you weren’t familiar with the concepts and had some spare time, you could look into it. Our education system sucks, and here in Portland, we are establishing an enhanced free skool with a free university that will help introduce folks to these kinds of ideas. I did graduate from college, and am getting my masters’ degree (thanks to student loans), so these ideas and concepts are part of my world, I like to share them with people and learn from others. My college experience, like many others, was full of a lot of confusion and weirdness. I didn’t learn a ton from the classes I took there. Most of what I know now, and pretty much everything I put in that reply to your post, was learned while I was squatting, eating out of dumpsters, and hanging out with activists in NYC, because I couldn’t find a job with my fancy BA.
      Anyway, back to DGR. Comparing DGR to the Nazi movement is something I haven’t heard for a while. While in some ways I agree that their stance on trans-folks, and others, takes away from everything else they do, they also take inspiration from indigenous self-determination, Third World movements like the Algerian National Liberation Front, and global women’s movements. So the comparison to Nazis is missing the point in my opinion. I’m just not confident that a politics of purity—in other words, a stance of exclusion toward people who don’t have the precise ideology that we have—will work. For instance, animal rights activists sometimes have a very difficult time with indigenous solidarity on Black Mesa, because they kill goats there. For some animal rights activists, killing a goat is the same as killing a human, and breeding animals to be slaughtered and eaten is basically the most devilish thing you can do. Still more AR activists find that we support people and causes that work together in solidarity, but no alliance or friendship is ever total or eternal. There are always differences.
      Those are my thoughts, at least, having not posted anything from DGR ever, gone to their gatherings or events, or whatever. I read their book and found more holes than swiss cheese in the thinking that they present. Anyway, allies in the struggle for Earth Liberation are always interesting, and people are always changing, so I say ‘why exclude? wouldn’t that make you as bad as them, or even more marginalized?’

      • dreadedwren January 21, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

        Why exclude? Really? Because holding your friends accountable when they fukup is what solidarity looks like. When we cherry pick the good bits and obscure the abusive bits of our relationships with lovers, friend, and political allies, we suffocate their growth, and do everyone a disservice. By supporting and advancing DGE’s ecological ideology, while not resisting their oppressive gender ideologies, EF! Is failing to be a friend. Failing as an ally. Failing as a community. Failing us. EF! Excludes a lot of folks–Nazis, FPL, cops–even folks with Disabilities, as I’ve outlined above. Sometimes, it serves and protects us to exclude people (see cops!), other times it hurts us (see PWDs), but don’t act like exclusion isn’t EF! Policy. It is. Exclusion itself isn’t a problem, especially when practiced by small communities under attack. Exclusion is a source of solidarity in small communities. It keeps out the bad dudes. But when you control the means of production, control capital, water, or access to resources, exclusion is transformed into oppression. Exclusion + Power is the problem. So no, exclusionary practices by EF! Would NOT be the same as exclusionary practices by Wallstreet, and would NOT make us “just as bad as them”. Correct me if I’m wrong OCean, but I don’t think you mentioned Nazis. Probably because that’s an obtuse and hackneyed comparison. You mentioned the NSM, which is a markedly different and more pertinant comparison. EF!, by misrepresenting Ocean’s thesis, it only reflects poorly on your own reasoning and arguing skills. You said you welcomed and valued our feedback, but when you hide behind a mythical “no exclusion” policy and misrepresent the arguments of others, that looks shady and insincere.

  7. dreadedwren January 21, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

    EF!, you wrote earlier: “If you think we made a bad call on publishing the DGR insert, or that we shouldn’t feature news from DGR in the future on the Newswire, perhaps it should be discussed next month at the OC, in person. While the virtual discussion here among mostly nameless, faceless people has some interesting points, its difficult to really explore these sort of challenges to the movement in online comments.”

    This is a very good example of EF!’s exclusionary practice. People with Disabilities, people with children, people with minimum wage, full-time jobs, etc are very often prevented from traveling to, and accessing, OCs–many of which are held in inaccessible locations such as forests. For a lot of us, online commenting is the only way in which we can participate in these discussions, the only way our voice is heard. Please reconsider your position that “in person” dialogue is more valuable than online discussion. Consider that the “nameless and faceless” commentators here are having our names and faces erased from EF! discourse by these kinds of ableist and classist exclusionary EF! practices.

    • Earth First! Journal Cascadia Office January 22, 2013 at 1:58 am #

      Again, I agree with most of what you’re saying. Especially my arguing skills, which generally suck, because I hate arguing. We need a lot of work with accountability and anti-oppression in EF!, and there are folks who work really intensely on helping the community handle and deal with these issues. I think comparing an environmental group to the national socialists is far fetched—particularly considering that their political agenda is defined by its racism, while DGR’s agenda is oriented strictly towards ecological radicalism. From what I understand, DGR doesn’t organize around an anti-Trans agenda, that’s just the opinion of one of their ideological ‘leaders’. I think that DGR has to work on their oppressive issues.
      In the late 1980s, EF! was considered a far-right wing movement with racist redneck power-mongers at the top who saw themselves as the patriarchs of a conservationist ethic that had nothing to do with social justice at all. Things started changing when a group of Anarchists from Olympia, Washington showed up to a rondy in 1989 and exchanged words with Edward Abbey, brought important issues of oppression up to the larger community, and basically put the patriarchy on its head.
      That’s the kind of work that EF!ers can do in DGR to disrupt and decenter the hierarchy from the inside.
      I’m really glad that ecofeminists and anarchists shook things up in EF! in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and that GLBQTTI folks did the same thing in the early-mid ’00s. Maybe that model could work to foster a new generation of radicals within DGR.
      You say that exclusion works well for small communities under attack. I agree with that sentiment 100%, as I already stated, but there’s a point where we have to ask ourselves, “are we going to try to achieve our goals as a group of small affinity groups practicing direct action, or are we going to engage in real community activism that involves leaders from different communities that may have different world-views?” For instance: the union movement, neighborhood associations, churches, and so on.
      I know a lot of radical groups who work with churches; they don’t say that the church is not worth organizing with because it doesn’t support GLBT communities—if anything, they try to work with people in the church to get to a common place of understanding. It’s a similar thing with homeless advocacy; have you ever been working with FNB and had someone come up to you and say, “this is vegetarian? that’s stupid!” Do you take that person’s food away, because their life is based on eating the flesh of factory farmed animals and ignoring the suffering that they cause? Probably not. Why? Because the cause you are serving is larger than the differences of opinion that you have with individuals in leadership positions. There is, as Ruth Gilmore Wilson said, “a relative autonomy of the movement from its leaders”, which can bring people of all walks of life together for common goals.
      Again thanks for your comments. It’s awesome to have such impassioned discussions about such really important issues that we are collectively facing today.

      • dreadedwren January 22, 2013 at 7:30 am #

        DGR isn’t a homeless person, or a church whose primary function is meeting the social and spiritual needs of disempowered communities. DGR is, as others have pointed out, an authoritarian, mostly white/hetero/cis/uppermiddle-class, environmental group whose central tenet revolves around a racist, heteronormative, paternalistic relationship to the environment. I think a lot of people here have made great arguments for why we should distance ourselves from them–for our own good and for theirs. I don’t think anyone here needed the run-down of EF! history, so much as we needed actual engagement of the material and ideological oppositions we presented to advancing DGR’s literature. Especially when it’s laced with ableist language–as was the case with the Roadkill piece–which *still* no EF! office has responded to in these comments, despite it having been brought up multiple times, and despite EF! offices making similarly ableist conclusions throughout this thread. Having “impassioned discussions” don’t feel too “awesome” when our words get roundly ignored.

      • Earth First! Journal Cascadia Office January 22, 2013 at 11:47 am #

        I’ve been agreeing with your comments on ablism this whole time. My last two comments were in accord with all your thoughts on ablism, and I agree that we need work toward more internal understanding and intelligence. I also think we should distance ourselves from DGR, but not wholly ignore or exclude them. I would be glad to co-author a piece about the distinctions btwn DGR and EF! with you if you have the time to compare notes about this crucial problem and get something together to raise this discussion in an article in the EF!J. One thing we could also do is to ask someone bring up the problem of DGR in the newswire to a group at the Journal discussion at the OC this year (I won’t be there, but someone can do it as a proxy), and ask the collective see if there is a consensus on including or excluding DGR’s posts.

  8. Ocean January 22, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

    Okay, I just wanted to jump back in and ditto drededwren’s statements.
    They are spot on and I thank them for that. With that, I don’t want to
    repeat what they said either. However, I did want to reinforce their
    comments and offer up my own on where you (Cascadia Office) say,
    “Anyway, allies in the struggle for Earth Liberation are always
    interesting, and people are always changing, so I say ‘why exclude?
    wouldn’t that make you as bad as them, or even more marginalized?’”

    Must we get into the whole master’s tools cliches here? I feel this is
    an incredibly silencing conclusion you’re using in your statement and
    am saddened that you’d even mention it. Again, the other commenter has
    done a fabulous job expressing the problems which lie in that manner
    of thinking/acting. To add to that, I feel there are plenty of reasons
    to “exclude” DGR, and some of the strongest reasons are the ones which
    were brought up in this whole dialogue, some of which you’ve even
    offered up yourself (“more holes than Swiss cheese”), so my question
    is why include? Truly. What on Earth is there to gain? Perhaps this
    would open up a whole other can of worms, but I simply cannot find one
    good reason to collaborate/give voice or space to/reinforce/even
    dialogue with this organization. What are we gaining? If it’s hurting
    folks, which it clearly is, at what point are we to say “Well, it was
    worth it in the end.”?

    That said, I realize many activists/anarchists/whatevers definitely
    find that our ends justify our means. The decisions that EF! has made
    regarding DGR and our (their) level of engagement with them has meant
    a consistent reinforcement of the above mentioned ideology — one that
    is fucked up beyond belief and something that folks really need to do
    away with. You don’t just hold out and stick through things with a
    group that is as fucked up as DGR is and cross your fingers that
    maybe, just maybe, our sticking together will usher in the revolution,
    fall of civilization, or something really great. No. And I realize I’m
    not quoting you there, but that is what the sentiments such as the
    ones you bring up, wreak of. I don’t think it’s interesting discourse
    or engaging dialogue, I think it is down right painful.

    And finally, I want to say that I’m not a purist. I don’t think that
    personal everyday acts will sink the ship. I don’t think not telling
    racist/sexist jokes will end racism or sexism or other oppressions,
    but I still don’t tell them. If I have a friend that tells those
    jokes, I’d tell them they’re fucking up and explain why. If they are a
    friend, they’ll listen and believe me. DGR doesn’t think they’re
    fucking up, and they don’t even listen. This is why so many people and organizations will not allow them to table or speak at events. You don’t let that shit creep into our communities.

    • Earth First! Journal Cascadia Office January 22, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

      again, those are important arguments that have a lot of validity. I do think that it is not as plain as: “we are sticking with DGR in hopes that they will usher in the resistance movement that we need.” Actualy, it’s the other way around. They indirectly tolerate EF! because they know we are more of a mass movement than they are, and they hope we will usher in broad systemic change, which they would be able to co-opt or exploit. There’s a distinction again between the power of their leaders and their general constituency. Now I agree that there’s not much to be benefited from an overall alliance with DGR, but we don’t have one really in the first place. We just have a kind of uncomfortable bleed-over space, a porous borderspace, that we could utilize to advance revolution in DGR’s way of thinking. That is exactly what happened between Anarchists and EF!ers in the late 80s, so you know it works to a pretty effective degree.

      • Leeahm_ January 22, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

        Ocean, while I appreciate many of your comments I am concerned that your attempts to speak for the trans community are not completely helpful. I am a trans persyn and I have taken part in DGR organizing and have also spoken out about the comments of Lierre. I am not a mindless slave of a white, patriarchal movement, though you seem to sum up my involvement that way. Any belief that an individual’s fucked up conditioning, such as Lierre, is then my fucked up condition because I work with an organization she is associated with gives all agency to her oppressive behavior and leaves me isolated and voiceless. My work is now a condition of the same fucked up oppression I am fighting against. I am left silenced in your conclusion. I am sure that isn’t your intention but I imagine you would never label DGR as a trans movement just because I am trans, though I have a voice at meetings and organizing. I can only make assumptions, but since you and dreadedwren have both done that I will not pretend to be embarrassed by it. You are both white, and based on your privelege, find it empowering to discredit entire movements rather than do the hard work it takes to build them. The voice of a white writer like Lierre is more powerful to you than the actual people that make up a DGR group. Like white oppressors everywhere you are demanding the “exlusion” of DGR, a group that my voice moves within, because you disagree. You are pushing to exlude me and it doesn’t feel good.

        EF! I would also appreciate if you would avoid summarizing DGR as white and male, which is not true. Again, I and many people of color and LGBT folks are being left out of this discussion. We actually do exist and you could acknowlege it.

  9. Dreadedwren January 23, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    I hear your point about my criticism of dgr giving all the agency to leirres personal attitudes and obscuring your participation in the group. Thats a good point. But i think its worth noting that no one in this thread ever called for a community boycott of dgr, a stonewalling of their messages, or a refusal to dialoguing with them. Instead whats being suggested is a withdrawl of ef! support until lierr, who inarguably speaks for dgr, can be accountable for the real fukked up attitudes she advances about trans folks. Maybe i should have made more space for trans dgr folks to talk about how they want to see themselves liberated within their own group. Sorry if i didnt, and i hope youll make a suggestion about how ef and other allies can support you in trying to call out dgr. At the same time, though, i dont think its fair to say that our suggestion to make space between ef and dgr is “discrediting the movement” or acting like white oppressors. Ill speak for myself, but i think the fundamental tenet of a an accountability process like the one being discussed here is that dgr and lierre are capable of widening their circle of compassion and understanding to include gender liberation. Thats why i would never call for the same accountability from the economist or ny times, as i said a few comments back. Because accountability is an act of love, and solidarity. I wouldnt waste energy holding accountsble evil wallstreet rags. Accountsbility builds communities, not, as you said, tears them apart.

    • Leeahm_ January 23, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

      Dreadedwren, sorry if I included you in my anger. I was quite angry but my reactions were largely gained from Ocean’s comments giving finalizing statements like saying there is “no reason to collaborate/give voice or space to/reinforce/even dialogue with this organization” which is a silencing move of an entire group of diverse people based on the oppressive behavior of a white writer who has loose philosophical links with the movement. Lierre does not show up to protests, shape our anti oppression work. Its like saying we must forgo feminism because some feminists (Lierre included) have made oppresive comments. Excluding is the silencing tool of oppressors. They use the actions of individuals to discredit movements so easily. We need to squash racism, not act like priveledged colonialists who want all these things to simply disappear without working it out. If that were the case, if we excluded such movements because of people like Lierre, the Civil Rights movement, the environmental movement, the LGBT movement would be silenced by oppressors within our ranks. Ocean, wake the fuck up, the oppressors are here and we have to deal with them, not exclude everyone that they have ever associated with. Its a very priveledge call to inaction. Dreadedwren, looking back I realize you are seeking to get certain members of DGR to speak out against Lierre. That makes more sense and your words are seeking accountability not silencing. There is plenty of disagreement with Lierre in DGR.

      • Ocean January 23, 2013 at 9:17 pm #


        I think you really missed the boat here, so to speak.

        You know nothing about me, who I am, where I come from, my identity, or how I live or anything about the “political” work I do. You make a lot of assumptions based on what you perceive my views to be and then use those assumptions to discredit what I was saying. I think that’s really bad and does nothing to add to the conversation here.

        I never tried to speak for all trans people, or anyone else, other than myself. Sorry if you felt that way.

        I don’t have to uncritically like every movement or organization (ie. I hate the International Socialist Organization and think that group should not exist. I have friends who are former members who have left the ISO — again, people are smart. But we don’t work to change the ISO though.) That is not “privileged”. It’s perfectly fine for someone not to like DGR. That doesn’t mean they’re siding with the oppressors. I have woken “the fuck up”.

        We could go around again about why I don’t like DGR (as do many people on this thread), but that’s not really the point. The talk of exclusion has mainly been because DGR seems unwilling to address Keith’s comments. As far as I know, the only time DGR has addressed it is with the incident involving The Flying Brick when they chose not to deal with it, and said that people who wanted to talk about it weren’t ready to do the work that needed to be done (to save the planet, or something I can’t remember). It’s great if people are talking about this in DGR, but there’s no way to tell, so all we really have are Keith’s statements and DGR’s (seeming) inaction. Excluding them was primarily talked about on here because they aren’t addressing that problem. Others in this thread have argued quite convincingly that Keith’s comments do have bearing on the whole organization. And let’s be honest, Keith has way more than “loose philosophical links with the movement”.

      • Leeahm_ January 24, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

        OK, Ocean, you are right about not knowing you. I’d love to hear more about you and your point of view when it comes to organizing. How have you distanced yourself from the feminist movement since Lierre Keith’s comments for instance? Which organizations and movements do you organize with and how does DGR differ from that?

  10. Earth First! Journal Cascadia Office January 23, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    Hi Leeahm, Thanks for posting! I really appreciate you raising your voice and making yourself heard. This is definitely the space for that. I definitely wouldn’t summarize DGR as white and male—if I did that in this thread then it was definitely a mistake, and I apologize. I’m queer, which is usually left out and alienated from the GLBT spectrum, and have worked on Journal collectives that have been pretty much 100% GLBQTTI. We’re pretty funny that way.
    In my own criticisms of DGR, I tend to only share with friends and allies, I usually stick to the organizational structure. I don’t see much in Lierre’s arguments worth criticizing to be honest. They usually just seem like passionate rants, and while I’m all about rants, grass-fed beef and back-to-eating-buffallo sentiments usually just pass by me—I don’t care for them as a vegetarian but in the context of our movement to stop ecocide, I don’t really worry too much about peoples’ ideal future. What we need is solidarity, and that’s really what I’ve been working towards.
    I tend to keep my criticisms private for that reason. I see DGR as a movement of impassioned people, for sure, and I don’t want to stifle it. Part of diversity of tactics is acknowledging and respecting internal disagreements without allowing diffraction to generate public mistrust of the entire movement.

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