Earth First! Roadshow: A cross-county tour aimed at renewing the Earth First! movement, from Spring to Summer 2009
From the Earth First! Organizers’ Conference & Winter Rendezvous in the Sonoran desert this February to the Round River Rendezvous in Cascadia this summer, a band of eco-rebels will be crossing the US Empire to renew a fighting movement that can stop this industrial nightmare from choking the life out of the earth.
The need for resistance in solidarity with the wild has never been louder or clearer than it is today; the roadshow is a great tool for cultivating resistance. There are countless examples to draw from in the story of radical movements before us: militant labor organizing tours, anti-fascist resistance recruitment and international speaking tours to build cross-border solidarity. The origin of Earth First! is credited to a few roadshows that kicked it all off in the early 1980s. We are building on this tradition; akin to a fellowship crossing Middle Earth to amass insurgents to face Mordor head-on.
List-serves and websites aren’t enough
This Roadshow’s primary intention is to strengthen our radical grassroots ecological network. For almost 30 years, we have been an organized voice bridging conservation biology with grassroots community organizing, road blockading and eco-sabotage. In the past 5 years we have seen numbers and experience-level in the EF! movement decline drastically. Yet, our place has never been more urgent. New groups are popping up across the country, but they are detached from many of the groups, history, and skills that preceded them. We can¹t afford to stumble and repeat the same mistakes.
We are at the tail end of a decade where corporate globalization rooted itself in the US and spread across the planet like a plague. And now that the reality of climate change is finally sinking into the mainstream consciousness, the same superpowers that pushed so-called ‘free trade’ policies to exploit wild nature more efficiently are promoting carbon trading in attempt to make a profitable industry out of the disasters they’ve created. The spineless Big Green environmental NGOs are scrambling for crumbs and cutting deals with the industry for shallow public relations victories. Earth First! must rise and recognize that it’s presence is a strong component of making the broader environmental movement truly effective. We are its spine, or as an EF! co-founder, Howie Wolke, has put it, we are the lions of a movement ‘ecosystem’. Our niche is critical, and its presence (or absence) is felt deeply by our surroundings.
We need to reconnect the multi-generational aspect of Earth First! that has fallen by the wayside in recent years. We need to broaden our network’s base—from radical rural grandparents to revolutionary urban youth. We must re-establish lost relationships with scholars and scientists who resonate with us. We mustre-inspire musicians and artists to contribute their passion to our battles.
When it comes down to it, solid movements are based on strong personal relationships; and real relationships don’t go very far over the internet. We need face-to-face interaction to build trust with—and support for—each other.
For the life of the Earth First! Journal
In a time where internet communication is facilitating the end of print media, including many mainstream news outlets, we are challenged to sustain our movement’s basic, primary medium of communication: the printed Earth First! Journal. Doing this means boosting the subscription/distribution base, plain and simple. And the roadshow is a chance to do that across the country.
If, or when, the lights go out, we will have the inspiration of photos and stories spanning 3 decades that we can hold in our hands and read out loud to each other by fire light, and pass on to the next generations. We shouldn’t let go of that (at least not until the lights go out!), no matter how tempting the allure of free online publishing might get.
The EF! Journal has survived where other activist publications have faded, because there is a base of community support and movement input that is rare in other print media projects. If this publication is lost, it will be a blow to all of our efforts in defense our land, our water, our neighborhoods, our animal-relations and the entire amazing wild process of life’s evolution on this planet.
Where are we going?
If you live in the US, there is a good chance that we will be coming close enough to your home for you to get involved. The roadshow will be starting at the Organizers’ Conference in Arizona and ending at the Round River Rendezvous in Cascadia. The schedule so far looks roughly like this:
March- from the Deserts into the Swamps
April- through the Foothills up to the Northwoods
May- across the Great Lakes and the Great Plains
June- around the Wild Rockies out to the Pacific Coast
Do you want to set up a quick stop at the local community center of college campus? Does your community want to plan a 3-day regional weekend gathering with direct action trainings and sessions on Earth First! history, vision and strategy? Or maybe something in between? Is there pending action plans that we could lend support to en route?
The Roadshow will be traveling with a variety of skills, topics and resources, including: forming affinity groups and planning direct action; blockading, climbing and occupations; bioregional news from campaigns and projects around the country; tools for challenging oppression; up-to-date news on resisting the Greenscare; independent and corporate media work; community organizing strategies; and more. A primary goal of the tour is to build the skill-base of our network. If you want specific areas of interests covered, let us know and we can tailor the stops to meet local/regional desires.
We also will be traveling with an array of art and culture, including musicians, puppet shows, and merchandise (stickers, books, shirts, etc.), to promote the vibrancy and visibility of radical ecological resistance.
Get involved, get more info, get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org