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Capital Blight: Reflections on the August 3rd, 2013 Protest in Richmond, California

By x344543 - August 11, 2013

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

On Saturday, August 3, 2013, I--along with approximately 3500 others--attended the Summer Heat: Together we Can Stop Climate Chaos rally, jointly organized by and a coalition of local environmental and social justice groups.

The coalescing of these forces reflected a confluence of several factors, including:

  • The struggle of a predominantly people of color community to wrangle some justice for the environmental and economic transgressions committed by the Chevron corporation, which has for all intents and purposes run Richmond like a company town (and this corporation's refinery--a piece of the once ubiquitous Standard Oil monopoly--actually existed before the town which we now call Richmond was established);
  • A massive explosion and fire that occurred at the refinery a year previously, which investigations later revealed was due to corroded pipes, which refinery workers complained about to management, but were allowed to let stand, lest the company's profits be lessened by so much as a penny;
  • Chevron's connection to the extraction of tar sands from Alberta and elsewhere which represent a form of "extreme energy" which endangers the environment, workers, and communities along the transport routes of this stuff (whether by train, truck, ship, or pipeline), and has already caused massive devastation and death in Kalamazoo, Minnesota; Lac Megantic, Quebec, and Mayflower, Arkansas, just to name a few places; and
  • The increasing realization that continued unabated use (and increased use) of fossil fuels (and for that matter, capitalism in general) has the human race on a collision course with doom, because (capitalist) human caused global warming--which has already progressed past the dangerous two degrees Celsius threshold that gives its name--will almost certainly condemn the human race, and quite likely all of the Earth, to a Venus like end, and must be stopped...yesterday.

Due to the participation of my fellow IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus members, Elliot and Ryan, an idea that they planted as a seed blossomed into a sizable labor contingent, composed of over thirty unions--including the Bay Area IWW General Membership Branch--that endorsed the rally and participated as an organized force in one way or another. The idea became so popular within the coalition organizing this particular campaign, that hired an organizer, Brooke Anderson, to make it happen--which she did to great effect. Ultimately 208 participants, including all three of us, my wife, spokesman Bill McKibben, ILWU Local 6 president Fred Pecker, and Richmond's mayor, Gayle McLauglin.

The event began with a meet-up at the Richmond BART station--the Bay Area's principal public transit system--an electric heavy rail network, whose union workers--represented by various ATU and SEIU Locals were embroiled in a nasty labor dispute with the agency's management and had (before the date of the rally) engaged in a one-week strike. Due to my efforts, and in no small part because I am a transit worker myself, a ferryboat deckhand at another one of the Bay Area's public transit systems, I suggested to Anderson that she make overtures to the BART workers as workers who work as part of the solution to capitalist fossil-fuel driven climate change; she agreed. At the other end of the equation, as a member of the rank and file opposition caucus, Transport Workers Solidarity Committee, to which several rank and file members from the various BART unions have since joined, I pushed for the committee to reciprocate; they did.

As one would expect, corporate media coverage of the event, while extensive, was overall mediocre to atrocious. compiled the coverage here.

None of the print media so much as mentioned the sizable labor contingent, though Brooke Anderson provided a fairly detailed account missed by the corporate media.

One of the worst offenders was the San Jose Mercury News who quoted San Jose State Political Science professor Larry Gerston (quite likely out of context) commenting about how people support projects like the Keystone XL pipeline because they're eager for "jobs" (in spite of the substantial proof that Keystone would provide almost no permanent jobs, and our own analysis that more permanent jobs than there are available workers in the US would be created if the full potential of renewable energy were deployed--environmental considerations and all).

Rather than provide yet another lengthy recounting of the march, rally, and planned civil disobedience that followed, I will keep this already lengthy article from becoming that much longer by offering a link a concise and to the point account by Richmond Progressive Alliance members (and rally co-organizers) Steve Early and Suzanne Gordon, published in Counterpunch. To round out the day's happenings, I have also included Ethan Buckner of Forest Ethic's report. Finally,'s official press release (in which I'm quoted), published by EcoWatch gives a glowing account, as one would expect. Likewise, Susie Kagel--who was present at the arrest site, taking statements from the would-be arrestees--covered the demonstration quite thoroughly in (of which, Bill McKibben is a board member).

Earth First!, by the way, also wrote glowingly of the event. They actually went as far as to give the IWW the majority of the credit for organizing the labor contingent, which is a refreshing change from the IWW's role in major uprisings being largely ignored. In this case, while Earth First!'s compliment is much appreciated, the IWW cannot accept that credit; we were merely one of thirty labor unions involved--though, of course, we were the only one who explicitly calls for the abolition of capitalism.

On the other hand, Fellow IWW member and rally participant, John Reimann offers this far more critical account.

My opinion of the demonstration falls somewhere between these two poles, and there are some very important lessons revolutionaries need to take from this struggle.

To begin with, I find John Reimann's dismissive comments about the arrests (and Brooke Anderson's call to action that led to them) as being a mere photo-op to be over-the-top, and reflexive:

There were hundreds of arrests for “civil disobedience". But what did that civil disobedience really consist of? Here’s what the organizers sent around:

“I’m writing to ask if you, or someone on your staff or membership, would be willing to participate in the arrest-able component of Saturday’s action?….We will be trespassing onto Chevron’s property to plant sunflowers starts…. Small affinity groups will walk onto Chevron property, sit down, and begin planting sunflowers in a powerful, symbolic action to reclaim and detoxify our communities and neighborhoods that Chevron has polluted for decades…. This will be a very organized, peaceful action. We expect police to cite and release people on site. From experience over the last decade of civil disobedience at Chevron, we expect charges to be dropped and participants not to need to appear in court….”

In other words, the civil disobedience was strictly symbolic. It was more or less another photo op.

It's true that they did nothing directly to disrupt Chevron's operations or even dent them, and it goes without saying that by themselves they don't make the transformative changes needed to abolish capitalism and replace it with eco-socialism, green syndicalism, or any other anti-capitalist alternative. Furthermore, it's also noteworthy that a good many of the arrestees that I saw were younger, white, "middle class" looking folks--quite possibly staffers, interns, and volunteers for the NGOs and business unions (and to be certain, many of them wore shirts. To's credit, they were at least printed using union labor).

That said, the arrests were enthusiastically welcomed by the leadership of the local environmental groups, which are led largely by Richmond residents of color. Many of their rank and file constituents simply cannot afford to get arrested. The penalties for POC and indigenous peoples are on average far greater than they are for white people in America's still very racist political system.

The fact that the mayor got arrested is also highly significant. That she was willing to openly take positions against Chevron in Richmond, a city that Chevron expects to run as a company town is a testament to the growing--even if somewhat disorganized and fragile--coalition of local environmental and progressive groups. As recently as four years ago, such events would have been unthinkable.

Of course, there are some caveats to all of this. First of all, the mayor's stance is partly motivated by political brinksmanship, since it's quite obvious that Chevron is constantly looking to undermine the mayor, her allies, and the environmentalists.

Of course, challenging the corporate overlord in a virtual company town as much as the mayor has thus far done--even if it falls far short of the mark of revolutionary transformation--is very risky.

On the matter of the mysterious group calling themselves "Chevroff", I conducted a little research of my own. They do indeed seem very mysterious. At the time of this writing neither their website nor their Facebook page reveals much. They could be an NGO--like Fellow Worker Reimann says--or something else, such as a false flag operation, or a front for the Ecuadoran government, though why the latter would need a front, when they've been quite open about their opposition to Chevron, is unknown. The same Chevroff "volunteer" who handed me one if their slick postcards also handed me a similarly glossy "Justice for Ecuador" postcard of similar size and dimension--though different in design and color obviously--and the latter IS connected with the Ecuadoran state. It's unclear who these folks are, but more will be revealed with time and investigation.

On matter of "mainstream labor", Fellow Worker Reimann only specifically mentions UNITE-HERE. I have little to add to that observation, but there were other unions present.

I cannot say for sure if any of them were any different. I did notice a few Latin@ marchers wearing "We Make Bart Work" shirts (ATU 1555), and my wife later informed me that they were janitors who worked at BART, so to some extent, John Reimann is mistaken.

That the unions were here at all, let alone the fact that elected ILWU Local 6 president Fred Pecker was one of the arrestees, when the AFL-CIO and the Democratic Party have been, at best, ambiguous on the Keystone XL Pipeline, is also significant. One possible motivation is the business unions agree that, in this case, the USW's conflict with Chevron's management in the plant is enough to warrant their solidarity, but given the AFL-CIO's business unions' general tendency to undercut each other and throw their own members under the bus when the needs of capital dictate it, it's hard to have any faith in that notion. A more likely motivation is the unions' (and by extension, the Democratic Party's) need to coopt and corral what seems to be a blossoming independent movement back into the clutches of the Democratic Party pen.

I have already detailed how the business union leadership ultimately cleaves to the needs of capital when environmentalists get "too radical" and start incorporating class analysis and class struggle into their movement. There's no reason to expect things to be any different now, as long as rank and file doesn't maintain constant pressure to keep the business unions accountable.

The Bay Area IWW called each and every one of its members. We didn't turn out more than a tenth of them, but that was as much due to the fact that many of them, especially those in our recognized shops, works on Saturdays.

Fellow Worker Reimann's criticisms were not made in isolation, by the way; they were shared by a number of revolutionaries coalescing to form a new group of Bay Area eco-socialists that has affiliated with the new organization, System Change not Climate Change.

What I have yet to hear--at the time of this writing at least--are the standard objections from folks with insurrectionist tendencies--that the civil disobedience was too controlled and should have been far more militant, perhaps involving some broken windows, blocked trucks, or mass occupations. I don't doubt--however, that these criticisms have and will be made.

One of the biggest mistakes made by many radicals is to examine any specific struggle within its historical and political context, which is ironic (especially for Marxists) given the tenets of historical materialism. You see, dear comrades, you can't just look at historical currents at the macro level, you must also look at them at the local level.

There's no doubt in my mind that opportunistic elements who joined in the march will try to gain personal and political influence from the planned civil disobedience, that is merely one aspect of the arrests. Limited in their effectiveness though they may have been--and let's not fool ourselves into thinking that they made much of a dent in Chevron's operations--much less capitalism in general--They nevertheless represent a (potential) major step forward for the downtrodden community of Richmond, and one cannot expect mass occupations from the get go. It's easy to sit back and criticize (especially If one doesn't actually do anything to concretely aid in the struggle). And demanding militancy is easy if you have little to lose and no family ties, and may actually cause problems, including unwanted scrutiny from national security state, which--as we have seen in the case with many environmental activists over the past half century--can be life threatening (just ask Judi Bari's close allies and friends).

It would be easy to dismiss this demonstration as being a photo-op for Bill McKibbon, and Richmond's Green Party mayor, Gayle McLaucghlin, a few business union officials, and assorted NGO directors. It would certainly be accurate to argue that this was indeed, at least part of the motivations behind their actions and for the demonstration itself, but those are not the only considerations.

The political climate (no pun intended) has changed due to years and years of grassroots organizing, and that hasn't come without a lot of setbacks, defeats, and frustration by the local organizations involved in the struggle. These locally based organizations (or, in some cases, local chapters of national and international organizations) include:

These groups are led largely by people of color and/or indigenous peoples and have strong ties to the community. Many of them have been challenging Chevron for years but have had to usually fight lonely, uphill battles. Only recently have activists attempted to concretely link these struggles to others against this multinational corporation.

For example, the Laotian community, some of whom are members of APEN, have joined a years long struggle to force Chevron to issue early warnings if fires or other accidents occur in the refinery, but even now, these warnings are not provided in Laotian.

Throughout much of this time, the City of Richmond has been largely in Chevron's pocket. In 2010, however, there was a political sea-change, perhaps due to a combination of advances in social media, a shift in political attitudes due to the collapse of the stock market in 2008, and years of local activists' persistence finally paying off. That November, in spite of the Tea Party onslaught nationally, progressive citizens of Richmond were finally able to elect a progressive majority to its city council.

In 2012, however, Chevron was able to unseat the progressive majority on the city council (in no small part due to dirty campaigning).

Chevron friendly candidates were able to regain a majority of council seats by the fortuitously timed corporate soda backed campaign against Measure N, which would have levied a tax on sodas and was intended to combat obesity. The tax was championed by the RPA, but (of course) corporate beverage companies who saw the measure as the beginning of a potential domino effect that would threats their insanely huge profits. Worst of all, the corporate front group that campaigned against Measure N--funded primarily by the American Beverage Association sowed wedges between Richmond voters by painting the RPA as elitist white liberals. Unfortunately for the RPA, the strategy worked, as the anti tax sentiment resonated among struggling African Americans and Latinos who saw the tax as regressive. That the American Beverage Association and Chevron teamed up to defeat the RPA was largely overlooked.

What should be obvious is that corporations use their enormous coffers to exploit potential weaknesses in fragile populist coalitions. In the case of Richmond, race baiting is nothing new. Two of the the Chevron backed candidates: Nat Bates and Corky Boozé are black. Bates has a long history of backing Chevron and denouncing attempts by progressives and environmentalists to check its power as "racist" (invoking the whole jobs--in this case presumably for African Americans--vs the environment myth). Boozé ran as a dark horse, ostensibly as a progressive, but after his election, he quickly joined the Chevron chorus when he inexplicably switched sides, most likely due to Chevron being able to use the skeletons in his closet as a motivating factor.

Chevron's manipulation of black Richmond political officials and appointees to protect its economic interests is well documented.

And this is but one of four such refineries within a ten mile radius.

Nearby--to the north and east--the Unocal (Phillips 66 - Conoco - Union 76) refinery dominates the landscape near the town of Rodeo. To the east, the Shell refinery holds sway over the Contra Costa County Seat, Martinez. North of that, across the Suisun Bay, the Valero refinery largely controls the Solano County town of Benicia. Popular struggles against all of these refineries are not a recent development.

As early as the 1970s, rank and file members of the Oil Chemical and Atomic Workers Union (OCAW), embroiled in a labor dispute with Union 76 in Rodeo, revealed that the refinery's pipes had corroded to dangerous levels, threatening the safety of the workers and the local communities and posing a risk to the environment(!).

Within ten years of the Earth First! coalition with the IWW which began in 1988 and the efforts of Earth First! - IWW Local 1 which kicked off in 1989, Earth First! launched a "Campaign to End Corporate Dominance" (CECD) in 1996. Bay Area Earth First! and IWW members chose to target Shell for various reasons including:

  • Trying to illegally scuttle obsolete oil platforms into the North Sea;
  • Complicity in the murder of Nigerian activist critics of Shell, including Ken Sarowiwa;
  • Explosions, fires, spills, and leaks at their Martinez facility, as well as oil spills from ships in the Carquínez Straight;
  • Reaping excess profits and gouging consumers from skyrocketing gas prices, all while blaming the price increases on new (largely insignificant) emissions regulations on gasoline!

In fact, Shell had been named the world's "worst corporate criminal of 1995 by the Multinational Monitor.

The CECD also joined a rally organized by ANSWER (then called the National People's Campaign) and OCAW against Chevron (for excess profits and price gouging), and Unocal. The latter demonstration took place in Rodeo and was jointly organized by locals, including CBE. In that case, the environmental NGOs called in for assistance were Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network. The keynote speaker at that (much smaller) rally was Lois Gibbs. Unocal had dumped dioxin into the bay. Angry residents of Rodeo, Crockett, Hercules, Pinole, Vallejo and other nearby towns marched up the hill north of Rodeo on San Pablo Avenue (the main thoroughfare), rallied at the refinery, and presented a large facsimile of a check in the amount of the assessed damages ($700,000) to the affected communities. Naturally, Unocal elected not to sign it.

After a fairly successful informational picket at a Shell station in San Francisco--which featured speakers from Earth First!, the IWW, CBE, Greenpeace, RAN, and the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers Union (OCAW)--the CECD had planned to protest at the corporation's refinery in Martinez, but the demonstration never came together, because--in the days long before social media--we were unable to find any locals willing to "host" our actions, and CBE cautioned us against alienating locals. We wound up organizing an ineffectual protest at the Pacific Stock Exchange instead (where police outnumbered demonstrators by a factor of five). The CECD then channeled its efforts into what became one if the many currents which fed into the highly successful anti WTO protests in Seattle three years later, but as a result the connections with western Contra Costa residents were not cultivated more fully.

Recently, Elliot and I attended a community forum held in Benicia to organize resistance to a proposal by Valero to bring tar sands crude into that community by rail cars. Valero is insisting that this practice will be safe (they always do), which is all the more ironic given the recent events in Lac-Megantic in Quebec. The hearing was attended by about sixty locals and a handful of outside supporters, including Andreas Soto and Pennie Opal Plant (as well as Elliot and myself from the IWW EUC). In this case, the outside organizations called on for support were the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Global Community Monitor (GCM) at the blessing of the locals.

Such a gathering is not what one would generally expect from a sleepy, mostly white, refinery town on the Suisun Bay in Solano County, and yet only six of the crowd seemed to question the intent to oppose Valero who no doubt try to run Benicia as Chevron does Richmond.

The Concerned Citizens and NRDC went on to speak out at the Benicia Planning Commission a couple of days later. Those supporting Valero were the usual suspects, i.e. company executives, management, and building trades union members ("if they build it, we'll get the jobs!") making the usual excuses and issuing the typical corporate talking points.

There seems to be a consistent pattern of communities like Richmond and Benicia organizing opposition at the grassroots to fight pollution caused by corporations running their cities like company towns and calling on outside help from profession "experts", in this case environmental NGOs. It's not dissimilar from workers calling on the help of mainstream business unions for representation. This makes sense, because often the NGOs and unions are potentially better equipped to organize than a rag rag group of citizens and/or workers who don't specialize in that sort of thing. In a similar vein, most of us lack the mechanical knowledge needed to repair automobiles, so in times of need, we call upon the services of an auto mechanic.

There is a danger in that, however, and that is the tendency to become dependent upon specialized experts, particularly those with a monopoly on power. This is one of the many unfortunate characteristics inherent in the capitalist model of economics. All too often, countervailing forces--environmentalists and unions alike--wind up serving the interests of capital through accommodation and compromise to the point where there is scarcely any appreciable difference between the supposedly oppositional agents and the capitalist power concentrations they ostensibly challenge.

The IWW has long understood the dynamics of horizontal versus vertical power relationships all too well, as illustrated eloquently by this image:

All too often, people get fooled into thinking that rather than forming themselves and their comrades into a big amalgamated fish, they go in search of an existing big fish for hire. Then they lament when the big fish eats them instead.

The real trick is in convincing locals that we are fish like them. Oddly enough, NGOs and business unions have mastered the art of marketing themselves, to the point that their representatives appear to be just another little fish. Radicals, by contrast, often lack the skill and training--and all too often the self awareness--that they need to be accepted as one of the fellow fish, and even when they don't, they'll often insist upon being the "eye".

This feeds into the straight white male savior mentality which will result in mistrust among the locals. To be effective, revolutionaries need to practice what IWW member Andrej Grubacic calls "the politics of accompaniment" in his and Staughton Lynd's book, Wobblies and Zapatistas.

This was painfully obvious in the RPA's failure to anticipate the opposition to the soda tax from the African American and Latin@ community. That instance represents a clear failure on the part of white progressives to cultivate deep, egalitarian relationships with the black community, a failure that Chevron was only too willing to exploit.

Instead of swooping in like a self proclaimed savior (an unfortunate tendency of radicals) or pretending to be an equal when the real goal is control (a characteristic of liberals), the best strategy is to actually "walk alongside" those in struggle. That doesn't mean we compromise our values; quite the contrary. We cite them openly and honestly. We offer our solidarity as long as our goals are the same; we stand our ground when they're different.

One may well point out the lack of any concrete examples where locals were willing to trust "outside" radicals, but in fact there is at least one, and that is the willingness of Georgia Pacific millworkers to work with Earth First! and the IWW (led by Judi Bari) in 1989:

In this case, millworkers--whom everybody expects to be quite conservative--were willing to work with Earth First! and the IWW, even though the Sierra Club and Save the Redwoods League were active, and in spite of the fact that these millworkers belonged to one of the few unionized mills left on the North Coast. That the union was willing to collaborate with the capitalists and sacrifice its own rank and file was a large motivating factor of course.

This shows that it is possible for "eco-socialists" and/or "green-syndicalists" to advance local struggles outside of or even in spite of NGOs and mainstream unions, but in order for that to take place, the relationships between the revolutionaries and the locals have to be cultivated--and yes, I am well aware that many of the radicals are also locals, but they're often marginalized by the powers that be to the point of being considered outsiders--though "internal exiles" would be a better description. The radicals also need to understand the political and historical context of the struggle and practice the politics of accompaniment; otherwise they will almost assuredly fail.

And don't misunderstand me. There are many legitimate--in fact fundamental concerns that radicals can and must raise about the August 3rd demonstration as well as the participation of the business unions:

  • We're all well aware that business unions routinely throw their members under the proverbial bus and cleave to the needs of capital; this is nothing new and it should come as no surpirse to anyone;
  • Likewise, as John Reimann correctly points out, and other environmental NGOs routinely compromise with capital for various reasons.
  • Bill McKibben seemed to indicate that the goal should be to induce Chevron to transform itself from an oil company to an (implicitly renewable) energy company. That is actually a sensible suggestion if that act is embedded in a much greater context of the entire fossil fuel industry being transformed by the workers and the communities in which they operate into a renewable energy industrial union federation as part of the revolutionary transformation of capitalism to eco-socialism or green libertarian communism, but that's not going to happen through mild ballot box reforms (well meaning though such things are), and it's certainly not likely to happen through classic market forces--unless, of course, there is a huge oppositional countervailing force threatening such a transition, in which case the "market" will demand it. McKibben didn't specifically call for a total societal transformation, however.
  • Far too much emphasis is placed on the Keystone XL pipeline at the expense of challenging the entire fossil fuel / capitalist economic system. Indeed, it is looking more and more like Keystone XL is being offered up as a sacrificial lamb to distract attention away from other modes of transporting tar sands.
  • In the case of the Concerned Citizens of Benicia, the most effective thing they could do--beyond what they're already doing--is reach out to residents of other, similar cities and communities--like Richmond, Lac-Megantic, Kalamazoo, Mayflower, Houston, Appalachia, and the like, and form a network--and not one arbitrated by top-down NGOs.

The facts, by themselves won't change the attitudes of the locals, as we have seen. On the other hand, tranformative change is already happening at the grassroots. My wife noticed, during the march, that an 8 - 10 year-old Latino boy (named "Homer" of all things) was leading this chant in Spanish:

What do we want?

Clean Energy!

When do we want it?


Was it any coincidence that the people responding to the chance were the aforementioned women who work at BART as janitors? I think not!

We must remember:

  • 1. It's essential to understand the history of a struggle from its roots to the present day as much as possible;
  • 2. It's just as essential to understand the context in which such demonstrations take place, particularly before judging tactics and alliances;
  • 3. The presence of NGOs and business unions represents both a positive and potentially negative development; positive, because it indicates that a campaign has gained attention outside of the community; negative, because the NGOs can--and often do--disempower local communities and local struggles.
  • 4. In spite of the fact that radicals, such as eco-socialists and green syndicalists, actually have more in common with rank and file members of populist struggles than the NGOs and business unions, the latter are very adept at presenting themselves as comrades--selling the illusion of the politics of accompaniment--and painting radicals as being "outsiders", and this is a problem that revolutionaries have yet to effectively overcome in many cases.

A telling factor is that the leadership of the coalition that organized the August 3rd event is predominantly composed of People of Color and women, whereas the Bay Area Eco-Socialists are largely white and male. That alone will immediately create barriers that will be difficult to overcome.

It will be that much more difficult to overcome these challenges if eco-socialists and other radicals make blanket criticisms of the coalitions that organize demonstrations, like the August 3rd event, as well as the events themselves.

That doesn't mean we let the NGOs and Business Unions have free reign and coopt the efforts of the locals, nor does it mean that the locals and local politicians themselves aren't above criticism. Many of them are in low level positions of power and are just as easily corruptible as anyone. There are certain laws of capitalism that do not change regardless of the party affiliation of the politicians.

Certainly, if the price is high enough, even the mayor could theoretically throw her professed constituents under the bus. Certainly Corky Booé did--though it should have been obvious that his integrity was highly questionable at best. The mayor is--so far, at least--a woman of much greater integrity. Could she be "turned" by Chevron? Perhaps. If the stakes were high enough, such as Chevron threatening capital flight, she might. The likelihood of a big city mayor challenging capitalism at that point is unusual.

So what is to be done?

  • 1. We must educate ourselves about similar struggles and know where revolutionaries succeeded and failed. The example of Earth First! - IWW Local #1 offers a concrete example of success;
  • 2. We must practice the politics of accompaniment, not vanguardism, unstrategic direct action, or sectarianism;
  • 3. We must cultivate relationships with those most effected by the struggle--much like organizing workers in a union at the point of production;
  • 4. We must research the struggle and all of its contexts thoroughly; and
  • 5. We must be uncompromising in our principles, but nuanced in how we present them.

Anything less is a recipe for failure.

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