Tag Archives: earth first activists

The Luddites And The Politics Of 21st Century Technology

8 Jan

by Ned Ludd

lyodNovember 2011 to January 2013 is the 200th anniversary of the Luddite uprisings: a great opportunity to celebrate their struggle and to redress the wrongs done to them and their name. But why would a group of Earth First! activists, concerned primarily with protecting wilderness, be interested in a 200-year-old uprising based on a labor dispute involving textile workers in England? The conventional answer is that Luddism is an anti-technology, primitivist philosophy and that it has a tendency towards direct action, but the truth about its significance is both different and deeper.

smash_the_machineThe Luddites were not primitivists, and the opposition between capitalist, technocratic progressivism and a supposedly primitivist Luddism is a sterile argument, framed in terms which suit the techno-progressivists. The portrayal of the Luddites as people opposed to all technology and progress is a history written by the victors. It is ironic that while the ideology of progress through technology has hardened into a rigid dogma, which must condemn the slightest criticism as “anti-science,” in fact, the Luddites opposed only technology “hurtful to Commonality” (i.e. to the common good). They were involved in a struggle for workers’ rights that focused on particular machines that were destroying their trades and livelihoods, and they destroyed those machines whilst leaving others alone. The crucial significance of Luddism is that, almost uniquely amongst radical movements, it addresses both the technological and social aspects of domination, and it is vital that we hold both of these together. Continue reading

Earth First! Blockades TECO Coal Plant at RNC in Tampa

31 Aug

by Everglades Earth First!

“You Built This Disaster” banner spoofs RNC motto (“We Built this”)

UPDATES: Seven people in total were detained for blocking the roads which stopped all traffic into the coal plant for near four hours. Six were locked down in the road and one was dragged off the top of the truck.

Over one hundred people showed up to support the blockade, many on the buses who traveled down with the Occupy Wall Street contingent from NYC, and dozens of media outlets in town for the RNC reported on the action.

In the end, no one was arrested, as it seemed the police used a strict policy of controlling the perception of protests by avoiding conflict all week.

Regardless, in the end this action not only succeeded in closing access to a massive coal power plant for hours, it also linked the plant’s operations to the corporate-funded political system, and even shut down the Port of Tampa temporarily (as well as freaked out a nearby IKEA who happen to be in the midst of an old-growth logging controversy), just by the threat of our presence!

What follows is a press release from Everglades EF! released at the start of the action:

Apollo Beach, FL—In the climax of the 2012 Republican National Convention, protestors with Earth First! have blocked access roads to TECO’s Big Bend coal plant on the eastern shore of Tampa Bay. The environmental action group is citing corporate influence in politics and ecological impacts of fossil fuel dependency as reasons for the disruption.

One of two lockdowns along the road, blocking all truck access to the TECO plant

This year’s RNC was funded by an estimated $55 million in corporate pay-offs, with corporations including the Tampa based-TECO Energy, along with Chevron, Duke Energy and Exxon Mobil.

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