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Earth First! in Northern California – Interview with Judi Bari

By Douglas Bevington, Summer 1993 – reprinted in The Struggle for Ecological Democracy

Douglas Bevington: Please describe the region in which you are organizing and that region’s key players. How far do your activities and influence extend?

Judi Bari: The area is the northern California red-wood region, which at this point is mostly Mendocino and Humboldt counties. It’s a big, sprawling area, rugged and sparsely populated. There are only 80,000 people in Mendocino County, where I live, and there are no large towns, no urban centers. Humboldt is a little different be-cause they have a university, Humboldt State, and a large town, Eureka. Both counties are rural impoverished areas. Our county governments are broke. They are closing down libraries and cutting back on police. Because of this, and because of the lack of urban influence, there is kind of a “wild West” mentality. There are some towns—Whitethorn and Covelo come to mind—that are virtually lawless areas, over two hours’ drive from the nearest sheriff’s deputy.

There are three main corporations in the redwood region. Louisiana Pacific (L-P) is the biggest redwood landowner, with 500,000 acres spread over the entire area. Tied for second are Georgia-Pacific (G-P), which owns 200,000 acres in Mendocino County, and MAXXAM, which owns 200,000 acres in Humboldt.
L-P has been around since 1975, and they’ve been liquidating ever since they’ve been here. Last year, they even admitted that 90 percent of their marketable trees in this county have already been cut. They are a cut-and-run company and they are almost done. G-P has been here a little longer. G-P has just one big sawmill and it’s still running. But most of their timberlands have been clearcut. They are about 70 percent done, so it’s just a matter of time.

MAXXAM is probably the best known of the three companies, mostly because of its outrageous financial practices. The 200,000 acres now owned by MAXXAM used to be owned by Pacific Lumber Co. (PALCO), a 120-year-old locally owned company, one of the oldest in the area. PALCO didn’t clearcut, and they had the closest thing to sustainable logging practices around. Because of this, they have the most old growth left. They have the best of what is left in the world. But in 1986, MAXXAM Chairman Charles Hurwitz, a corporate raider from Texas, took over PALCO in a forced junk bond buy-out scheme and then tripled the cut of old-growth redwood to pay off their junk bonds. This area has had pretty much a singular economy based on timber. Many of the logging families here go back five generations. Everybody knows each other, everybody grew up together and often are related to each other. It’s hard to understand the phenomenon of the company town until you live in one. King Timber controls all aspects of the society—the jobs, the schools, the hospital, the newspaper, and the police.

This singular economy and isolated rural culture got interrupted around 1970, when the back-to-the-land hippies moved in with their politically sophisticated, radical urban culture. What the hippies do for a living is grow the best marijuana in the world. In the mid-1980s, they actually included marijuana in the agricultural report of Mendocino County and found that it was the biggest cash crop, bigger than timber. This gives people a way to live in this area without being economically dependent on timber. Because timber is such a fluctuating market of booms and busts, during the low periods it is the marijuana money that keeps the towns going. Garberville, in southern Humboldt County, is probably the best-known local town built up with marijuana money. Many early growers used their money to open “legitimate” businesses. As the hippies gained economic influence, they also gained political influence, including passing voter referendums on local issues and electing candidates to the Board of Supervisors.

So, we basically have a bipolar social situation, with the hippies and the loggers. Of course, there are other social/cultural groups in our community, including Mexicans, Indians, fishermen, etc. But the main players in the Timber Wars are the hippies, the loggers, and, of course, the big timber corporations.

Douglas Bevington: What role does tourism play in the economy?

Judi Bari: Tourism is primarily on the coast in Mendocino County. It’s had some effect of gentrification—yuppie owners, underpaid maids, and skyrocketing land values. But the coast is separated from the in-land by a mountain range and 36 miles of winding roads, and it doesn’t seem to have as much impact inland.

Douglas Bevington: What are the major environmental groups in your region?

Judi Bari: The two most prominent environmental groups here are EPIC and Earth First!. EPIC stands for Environmental Protection Information Center. It is based in Garberville, and they basically file law-suits on timber harvest plans. They are the most important local group for that. They were also the sponsors of the “Forests Forever” statewide voter initiative in 1990. Earth First! takes the lead in defining the issues and also does the direct action, the logging blockades. We are one of the largest and most influential political groups here.

There are also a series of watershed groups, people living in a threatened watershed who get together, such as the Albion River Protection Association. There are scores of these groups, and they form the local base of the environmental movement here. The way that we organize in EF! is by working with the watershed groups that advise us on the issues.

Other important influences are the Mendocino Environmental Center in Ukiah and the North Coast Environmental Center in Arcata. Both are long-standing, independent local groups that maintain storefront offices, monitor timber harvest plans, lobby, and sometimes file lawsuits. They unite us all by making their physical space, office equipment, services, and political support avail-able to all parts of the movement.

So, you can see that this is a very locally based grassroots movement.

The big national groups are hardly even a factor. The Sierra Club is around, and they have funded some of the lawsuits on the timber harvest plans. Sierra Club state reps have also stepped in to negotiate with timber and government to try and com-promise some of the gains we have made here. But the local Sierra Club chapters mostly focus on land use issues and not on forestry. And the other main-stream groups, like Greenpeace and Wilderness Society, just don’t exist around here.

Douglas Bevington: How large is the active membership base of EF! in your region?

Judi Bari: EF! is decentralized and it’s not a membership organization, so that question is not so easy to answer. There are three separate EF! groupings in this area: Mendocino County, southern Humboldt, and northern Humboldt (including Humboldt State University). We all work together and support each other’s actions, but we have three autonomous groups, treasuries, mailing lists, etc. The Mendocino County mailing list is about 1,500 people. In order to be on this list you need to have either given money or attended actions within a year. About two-thirds of that list is local, meaning northern California, and the rest is national.

In Mendocino, we can get about two hundred people to a demonstration, which is incredible given the small population. I don’t know of another group that can get 200 people to a demonstration in this area. When we started, before Redwood Summer, we’d get 20 people. Now we get 100-200.

Douglas Bevington: While working with EF! to protect the forests in your region, you have also been organizing a coalition with timber workers. Where do the interests of environmentalists and the timber workers coincide and where do they conflict?

Judi Bari: The interests coincide because both the forests and the workers are exploited by out-of-town corporations, whose policy is to liquidate the forests and then leave. Cut-and-run is equally dam-aging to the ecology and the economy. The area that they leave behind is devastated, and to log in a manner that you are cutting yourself out of work is certainly not in the interest of the loggers. So the basis for the coalition is local people, people who have a long-term interest in the area against out-of-town corporations.

Douglas Bevington: Unsustainable logging practices can have short-term social benefits on a local level in terms of increased employment, etc. Are the interests of local movements capable on their own of shaping a sustainable relationship with the forest?

Or is there a need for environmental movements beyond and outside the region?

Judi Bari: I disagree with the premise that liquidation logging has short-term benefits for the community. The short-term benefits are really too narrow to be considered by anybody who is thinking seriously of the area in which they live because when the timber companies do this, they bring in people from all over. When they were logging at 300 percent, they had people from Idaho, Oregon, and every place you can think of in here logging. So it is not that the local people had this great era of prosperity. The corporations had a great era of prosperity, and some of it may have trickled down into the local economies, but by and large we were not the beneficiaries of it.

Back to the coalition, some environmentalists think that there should be no logging at all, which may not be that far off, considering how little forest there is left. But this obviously represents a conflict within the coalition. What the progressive loggers have come up with instead are methods of restoration logging—restoring the damaged land while still taking out some products in order to provide a living for those forest workers. For example, when the redwoods are cut out, the tan oaks overgrow and just strangle the area. If you thin the tan oaks, then the redwoods can grow back better. And you can mill the tan oaks into flooring, which is a high-value product. That could be the basis for a commonality, creating a way for people to make a living and still live here while maintaining the forests.

Conflict arises from the fact that the environmental movement in general, certainly the large groups, are primarily urban, privileged people, whereas the timber workers are a rural industrial proletariat. So there are many real divisions between these groups-urban versus rural, white collar versus blue-collar, privileged versus nonprivileged. The timber industry has sought to exploit those differences and portray the entire environmental movement as privileged, urban people who aren’t concerned about rural people. That is true to a certain extent. It is certainly true of the big mainstream groups. That is why the propaganda is effective, because it does contain some truth. We are an exception here because we are locally based.

Douglas Bevington: Could you give an example of a rural-versus-urban conflict in this case?

Judi Bari: The major urban-based environmental groups, the Wilderness Society, the Sierra Club, etc., basically hold the position to take wilderness areas and preserve them. They want to talk about saving particular areas, but the aspect of compensation or reemployment for displaced workers does not figure into their proposals at all. For example, Headwaters Forest is the most famous old-growth redwood forest left. It is in Humboldt County and is owned by MAXXAM. It’s 3,000 acres of redwood wilderness with 2,000-year-old trees and six-foot-tall ferns. It was discovered, mapped, named, and made an issue by EF! and EPIC. We’ve been working for years to preserve it. But how could it be preserved in a manner that the workers could support it? If it is cut, it will provide approximately twelve years’ worth of work to timber workers, 2,000-year-old trees for 12 years’ worth of work. But if it is preserved it will eliminate that many jobs. The solution is to combine preserving old growth with providing jobs in restoration for the devastated areas.

But when Congressman Pete Stark, under the influence of city-based environmental groups, proposed saving the 3,000 acres and a 26,000-acre buffer zone around it, the workers were not even part of the formula. Charles Hurwitz will be paid millions of dollars for the land. Nobody even questions that. But the idea of compensation for displaced workers isn’t in the program Pete Stark has proposed for saving Headwaters.

As opposed to this proposal, EPIC also put for-ward a proposal for 79,000 acres which we hope is going to be promoted by Congressman Dan Ham-burg. EF!, including myself, worked on the EPIC proposal. I was in charge of developing the worker compensation plan for this proposal. No other preservation proposals that I know of even include a worker compensation plan. What I did was that, in-stead of writing a proposal for the workers, I convened a committee of workers and displaced workers and they wrote it. Our basic principle was that the workers are not responsible for Charles Hurwitz’s crimes and that they should not bear the brunt of them. Displaced workers need equivalent jobs at equivalent pay in their community. With this in mind, we developed a plan in which the worker component is integrally related to the biological component. The 79,000 acres includes six major stands of old growth separated by land that has been trashed out and cut over to various degrees. We pro-posed uniting all of these lands in an ecological preserve that will be managed for the idea of restoring wilderness qualities. And restoration efforts will be done by the displaced workers. We figured that it would create about 100 restoration jobs and would displace about 200 logging jobs. So along with that we have a workers’ severance package.

This is based on what was done when Redwood National Park was created in the mid-1970s. That was back before the timber unions were busted. In fact, I think this is why the unions were busted. Back then, the unions were powerful enough to get a workers’ severance plan included in the bill that preserved Redwood National Park in which displaced workers were paid two-thirds of their pay for six years. That is the final offer that we make in our Head-waters Proposal. We put this forward and found that it would only cost about $3 million a year to implement. Well, they are talking about $500 million to pay off Charles Hurwitz. But we’ve found an absolute closed door to our ideas among the mainstream.

Douglas Bevington: How responsive have the workers been to your attempts to build alliances with them?

Judi Bari: We’ve had some really good responses, but there’s been a tremendous force trying to bring us apart. When we in EF! began trying to save the forest, I was working as a carpenter and I’d been a blue-collar worker all of my life. The reason I got involved in forestry issues was because I was building yuppie houses out of old-growth redwood, and I was appalled at it. Certainly, my job was contributing to the destruction of the forest, just as the loggers were. And I was working in the same industry, on the other end. So when we began to work to save the forest, I found that I had as much sympathy for the people in the mills, in factory conditions with which I was all too familiar from my own work history, as for the people in the trees trying to stop the cutting. I was really surprised to see the prejudice among environmentalists that they actually blamed the loggers. Part of the reason for environmentalists’ contempt for workers is that they are completely ignorant of the fact that the workers have indeed been struggling against these companies for years. So, the first thing I tried to do was to educate environmentalists about the timber workers. I taught a workshop about the history of worker organizing in the timber industry, and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

The timber workers have something to tell us that we don’t know. They’re out in the woods all day. They know exactly what’s going on. Just giving them that respect of being intelligent, that made a lot of difference in their openness towards us. I began to meet workers by blockading them.

We’d shut down some logging operation, and there they’d be, the perfect captive audience. When we’d start talking, because the way I was talking to them indicated that I had similar experiences and sympathies and understood what their life conditions were like, they were really interested in talking to me. I began to get to know them and to know some of the issues in the workplaces and some of the working conditions. I began to advocate for those positions from whatever public forum I got from being an EF!er. I began to advocate for the conditions of the workers because the unions have been essentially busted in our area and there really isn’t anybody advocating for them.

Douglas Bevington: What unions were busted and when?

Judi Bari: Both G-P and L-P were union. There were two unions that represented them in the early 1970s: the International Wood-workers Association (IWA), an industrial union including both loggers and mill workers representing G-P workers, and the Western Council of Industrial Workers, a branch of the Inter-national Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, who represented L-P mill workers. I don’t believe that the L-P loggers were unionized.

In 1983 L-P decided to bust the union. What they did was institute a unilateral $2-an-hour wage cut in the saw mills, forcing a strike by the union. They managed to keep everybody out and prolong the strike. The union’s reaction, because unions are so conservative these days, was to call for a nation-wide boycott, which was stupid because the power of workers is in blocking production, not in calling for boycotts. And the boycott was a failure because timber is primarily bought on the wholesale level. It’s not something you can successfully organize a consumer boycott of. So the union was busted and they hired scabs. Then they took a revote and had the union decertified. With the union destroyed, the starting wage in the mill dropped from $9 to $7 per hour. When I got a divorce and needed to get a regular job, since I had factory experience, the first place I looked was the mills. I wasn’t involved in environmental issues yet. I discovered that I couldn’t support my kids on that salary. I had to find a better job.

G-P came down hard on the IWA, and the union quickly capitulated, agreeing to all concessions in order to prevent their union from being busted too. The concessions included an across-the-board 25 percent wage cut, bringing them down to $7 per hour also. They also agreed to give up representing the loggers. So they now only represent 550 mill workers in the county.

Anyway, I began to get a reputation for advocating for workers. I also wrote some articles, I wrote one in the Industrial Worker, the IWW paper, called Timber Wars that talks about why our interests are in common and why we shouldn’t be turned against each other. I’d give it to people I knew, and they’d pass it around.

In 1989, there was a PCB spill at the G-P mill, and it dumped on some of the workers and poisoned them. The union sided with the company, and the workers didn’t know where to turn. Because I had spent time as a union organizer in the straight AFL unions, I pretty much know the bureaucracy for OSHA, and I just used that knowledge to help them pursue an OSHA claim. We ended winning a willful citation against G-P, a $114,000 fine, which is of course nothing compared to what was done to them, but it was the highest thing that you could get. In the course of this, five of the G-P employees most directly affected by the spill, in order to be represented by us instead of by their union, wrote a letter to the company that said, “We do not authorize a union representative from the AFL union to represent us in this matter of the PCB spill. We authorize only Judi Bari and Anna Marie Stenberg of IWW local No. 1.” That was our Wobbly union that we had formed. This must have sent a chill down G-P’s spine since I was the best known EF! organizer in the region at that time.

Douglas Bevington: Why did you choose to work with the IWW?

Judi Bari: I never tried to organize a union, as in getting bargaining power, because this is a declining industry. It was clear to me that the corporations would close up shop and run before they would give in to a union organizing drive.

The other thing was that I didn’t work in the mills. I was a commercial carpenter working with the redwood that came out of these mills. And Anna Marie Stenberg, one of the principal people who organized our IWW chapter, was a childcare worker who ran a center for the mill workers’ children. What the Wobblies offered us was this one big union theory by which everybody in the industry is united. No other union offered that. The Wobblies offered us the structure to address immediate issues, supply representation where none existed, and build coalitions with loggers around the larger issue of cut-and-run.

Shortly after the PCB spill, a worker for L-P named Fortunado Reyes was killed after he was ridiculed by his supervisor and told not to push the emergency stop so often at work because it was slowing down production. So he tried to clear a jam on the assembly line without pushing the emergency stop. When the line started up again, he was crushed to death behind a load of lumber. The workers were appalled. They filed their own complaint with OSHA. But because they would lose their jobs, they couldn’t be as public about it as I was able to. I went to a Board of Supervisors meeting and called the head of L-P, Harry Merlo, and Fortunado’s supervisor, Dean Remstedt, murderers, and I demanded that the county bring criminal charges against L-P. Amazingly, about a year later, they actually did. L-P had only been given a $1,200 fine for Fortunado’s death, and they appealed it and got it reduced to $600. All that ended up happening with the criminal charges was adding a $5,000 fine from the county. Still, the people who worked there began to hear somebody advocating for their interests. That was something that they hadn’t seen.

The same thing was going on at MAXXAM. After the takeover of PALCO, one of the things Charles Hurwitz did was raid the pension fund in order to payoff his junk bonds. He went to the company town, Scotia, and told the workers, “I believe in the golden rule: those who have the gold rule.” The workers were outraged and attempted to organize.

Pacific Lumber is a company that has been non-union for 120 years. They’ve resisted the Wobblies. They did it by being a paternalistic company that pays a little better than the others. It gives better working conditions and scholarships for the children of the workers to go to college. It’s a company town. They actually own the town, one of the last company towns in the United States. If you work there, you can get these nice houses very cheaply. Be-cause of that, they basically had a loyal work force. When Charles Hurwitz took over, 500 workers signed a full page ad objecting to the takeover. That was pretty radical for them. But it got co-opted by a man named Patrick Shannon who had actually done some union-busting work down in San Francisco at Yellow Cab. I think that he was just a charlatan. He came in and said he wanted to organize an ESOP, an employee stock ownership plan. Instead of this energy that workers were experiencing going into a union, this man, who was anti-union, convinced the workers that what they needed was an ESOP. The flaw in this strategy is that the company wasn’t for sale. They only give workers ESOPs when a company is about to go bankrupt. Charles Hurwitz wasn’t about to turn this company over to the workers. The result of it was that Patrick Shannon was dis-credited and the ESOP collapsed. The company reigned everybody back into loyalty and fired some of the workers from the ESOP Committee and got the workers to direct their anger at Patrick Shannon instead of Charles Hurwitz.

At this point, I met some of the workers who had been on the executive committee of the ESOP who were interested in resisting. We put out a news-letter on the workroom floor. The company paper was called Timberline, so this newsletter was called Timberlyin’. The PALCO paper had a skyline of trees, ours had a skyline of stumps. This was distributed on the workroom floor, and it was a rank-and-file newsletter that lampooned management and criticized them for both their work rules and the forestry practices.

Douglas Bevington: How did the timber workers feel about being in coalition with EF!, given its reputation for tree spiking?

Judi Bari: Before the bombing, the coalition was beginning to grow. But it was held back by EF!’s advocacy of tree spiking, the idea of driving nails into trees to prevent them from being cut supposedly because the companies wouldn’t want to risk shattering a saw blade in a mill. I have pretty much opposed tree spiking from the start. It is a pretty naive strategy made by people who have never done industrial work in their life. They don’t know, first of all, how dangerous a factory really is and, secondly, how little the companies care for the lives of the workers. For them to count on the morality of the companies not to cut a tree just because it’s spiked, that hasn’t been the case. The companies have cut the trees anyway and risked the workers’ lives. In our area a man was nearly decapitated when a saw hit a tree spike and broke up and hit him in the neck. I had been against tree spiking as an individual, but I did not have political influence within, EF! to do much about it. But by 1990, I did. At the urging of timber workers that we were working with, Northern California and Southern Oregon EF! publicly renounced the tactic of tree spiking. When we did that it really opened the coalition so that it could be more public, so that more people could feel comfortable working with us.

It was in April 1990 that we renounced tree spiking, so that upped the ante. The coalition became more solid. And timber workers felt better about working with us. Right around that time we had already put out a call for Redwood Summer, for students and others to come into our area and engage in nonviolent civil disobedience to stop the liquidation of the forests. Right on the eve of Redwood Summer, L-P closed yet another sawmill and laid off yet another 200 people on the same day that they announced record profits.

We went to the Board of Supervisors in April for the first time publicly with the worker coalition. We had been working with timber workers privately for years, but now for the first time in public. EF!, IWW, and currently employed loggers and mill workers from L-P attended a Board of Supervisors meeting together. What we asked for was that the county of Mendocino use its power of eminent domain to seize all of L-P’s timberlands and operate them in the public interest as the only way to save the trees and jobs. This is obviously a radical demand for Mendocino County, and it certainly caused a stir.

Douglas Bevington: At this point, how large was the coalition?

What percentage of it were environmentalists and what percentage were workers?

Judi Bari: Everything was tiny. The number of people who came to the meeting was about 50. Of those, five were workers , although there were quite a few workers who didn’t have the nerve to come to the meeting. There were about 30 workers in the coalition and maybe 100 environmentalists. Everything was amazingly tiny compared to the influence we had.

Douglas Bevington: How much influence would you say this coalition has had, given its small size?

Judi Bari: Because most people are cowed into inactivity, we could start with just that many active people and have a tremendous impact. We’ve really caused quite a bit of change in the logging methods and the rate. The logging rates are way down from what they were in 1990. Part of that is certainly caused by the economy. But it is also because they don’t want to stir up that much shit again. The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat quoted a Wall Street Journal analyst after Redwood Summer on L-P’s announcement that they were changing their logging practices and stopping clearcutting solely in the redwoods. It said something like, “Well, if you were a timber company and you had to worry about these people protesting all of the time, surely you would accede to some of their more reasonable demands.”

Douglas Bevington: What kind of response was there to the coalition’s demands?

Judi Bari: It was immediately after that meeting for eminent domain that I began to receive the death threats that led up to the bombing. The scariest death threat that I got was a picture of myself with a riflescope and crosshairs drawn over my face. That picture was from that meeting. It was clear to me where I had crossed the line. Having not only advocated such radical tactics, but having done so in open coalition with workers posed a serious threat to the corporations. I think that is when they decided that they were willing to kill me if they needed to. And things certainly built from that point.

They began to organize very hard to discredit us. They had a concentrated campaign to make us appear violent, to make us appear anti-worker. This campaign, when they were unable to get us to discredit ourselves or terrify us with death threats, included producing fake press releases that had our EF! logo on it.

Douglas Bevington: What evidence do you have of the connection between the timber corporations and disinformation about the Redwood Campaign?

Judi Bari: MAXXAM filed a lawsuit against Darryl Cherney and George Shook, two EF! tree sitters, several years ago. In the course of that suit, the defense asked for all internal documents relating to EF! One of the documents we got back was a letter from the company to Hill & Knowlton saying that they wanted to hire them to counter EF! Hill & Knowlton is one of the biggest, most sophisticated PR firms in the world. Hill & Knowlton had an $11 million contract with the government of Kuwait. They helped persuade the U.S. Congress to go to war in 1991 based on the testimony of this poor Kuwaiti woman who talked about the Iraqis throwing babies out of incubators into the desert. She gave this testimony to Congress just before they voted to go to war. Her testimony turned out to be completely bogus. The woman was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador. The whole thing was a lie. So Hill & Knowlton is this international company in the business of producing disinformation. And they were hired to produce the disinformation around the redwood issue.

We got another internal document from this lawsuit in which the MAXXAM/PALCO PR manager, David Galitz, acknowledges that one of the press releases allegedly from us calling for violence and chaos is fake. It had Darryl’s name spelled wrong and my hometown wrong. But one week after the date on that internal memorandum, that same press release was sent to the San Francisco Examiner, Chronicle, and the San Jose Mercury News by Hill & Knowlton. I believe that Hill & Knowlton wrote it as well as distributed it, but I can only prove the latter.

In another example, in April 1990, in this pulp mill in Samoa, L-P called a meeting on the clock to distribute a different fake press release, whip up hatred against us, and openly encourage workers to intimidate us.

We know about this meeting because it occur-red at one of the last union mills and the Pulp and Paper Workers’ Union filed a grievance against L-P for it.

Douglas Bevington: How do you know that press release was fake?

Judi Bari: It had our name on it and we didn’t write it. It purports to be from “Arcata EF!” and there is no such group. The Arcata group is called North Coast EF! I also know that it was fake by its content and method of distribution. Although no EF!ers received these press releases, they were distributed to the newspapers, in the mills, and in stacks in laundrimats in the logging town. We know everybody in our group. This didn’t come from anybody in our group. So we know we didn’t write them, and we know that the method of distribution was in order to inflame timber workers and discredit us in the press.

Another example came from the Sahara Club, an anti-environmental hate group. They published a diagram of how to make a bomb, which they claimed was from an EF! Terrorism manual. Of course, there is no such EF! manual, but, by printing this diagram and attributing it to us, they managed to simultaneously stir up hatred against us and distribute information on how to make bombs.

There was this rash of false information coming out in April 1990, right after the eminent domain attempt. Workers were very much riled up. Nobody, including us, really had the experience or sophistication to expect there to be fake documents distributed to the press. So most people who saw these things believed them to be real. It began to discredit us a little bit. But I still don’t think that it would have worked without the bombing. After the bombing, I was immediately arrested and blamed for bombing myself. The bomb was hidden directly under my car seat and triggered by the motion of the car. Yet, the FBI arrested me and Darryl for transporting explosives, claiming that it was our bomb and we were knowingly carrying it. Again, people aren’t used to seeing blatant lies, or at least they are not used to recognizing blatant lies in the headlines of the newspaper. So, at first, a lot of people believed that it was my bomb, including some of the workers with whom we had just begun to build bridges. The bombing very much scared people. The environmentalists were terrified. Workers who were just beginning to trust us thought we must have been lying all along and began to back off. Those who didn’t believe the lies, many of them were scared off. So the bombing set back the worker coalition for miles.

Douglas Bevington: Did the bombing destroy the coalition or has it recovered?

Judi Bari: It took years to recover. But it finally has. I don’t know if we are quite up to the eminent domain stage. But years later we have finally regained much of the ground that we lost. And a lot of this is because of a man named Ernie Pardini.

Ernie is a fifth-generation logger. His family is one of the most prominent logging families in our area. Last summer, a community called Albion decided that they didn’t want to let L-P take the last of the trees in the area. So the local activists called in EF!, and in a nine-week campaign of constant actions we managed to shut down L-P in the entire watershed. Ernie Pardini’s uncle was the man who was doing this cut. Partway through the struggle, Ernie came forward and denounced L-P. He did that publicly. He’s probably the most articulate logger I’ve ever worked with. He’s really smart and brave too. He stood up against his family. He stood up against his community to tell the truth about the corporation. His brother did so also. The role that I’ve played in this is that I gave them a forum to talk.

We have great local alternative media. We get no press coverage in the corporate media, but we have really good alternative media. I was writing a column in the Anderson Valley Advertiser, a local radical newspaper. I did one in which I interviewed the L-P mill workers about their working conditions. I also interviewed five loggers and wrote an expose of their working conditions. Ernie had read these things and saw what we were doing. The other thing I have is a radio show. Ernie came on the radio show and denounced the corporations in no uncertain terms. He even denounced them for bombing me. His brother called in and joined him.

Douglas Bevington: Who did Ernie work for at that time?

Judi Bari: He was a logger who worked for L-P, not directly though, because loggers work through the gyppo system. He actually worked for his uncle, (Don) “Mancher” Pardini, one of the biggest logging contractors in Mendocino County.

Douglas Bevington: What do you mean by “gyppo”?

Judi Bari: It means the timber corporations contract out the actual logging to small companies that are paid a fixed rate on a logging job. The gyppos own the big heavy logging equipment, not the corporations. That’s one of the real problems with this EF! idea of halting logging by sabotaging equipment. That’s all very well and good if the equipment is owned by the corporation. But when the equipment is owned by a small company, that’s who pays the cost for the sabotage. It doesn’t hurt L-P one bit. This is also a real good way for the corporations to distance them-selves. It’s harder for the workers to identify the enemy when they are, say, working for their uncle. If Ernie had been working directly for L-P and he stood up, that would be one thing, but he had to stand up against his family.

Ernie has been blacklisted for it, as most workers are. We call it the Future Ex-Loggers Coalition because anyone who stands up gets blacklisted or fired. But what Ernie told us is really the next step that we needed to know. He said that loggers can’t stand up against the corporations if there’s nothing else for them to do, if there’s no place else for them to go. We really needed to form an alternative. “Retraining” and “diversification” are just code words for dislocation to rural timber workers. So, his idea is what we’ve named the Mendocino Real Wood Co-op. One-third of the redwood land is privately owned, as opposed to corporate ownership, and that third is the third with the trees on it. The corporate lands are just about gone. Ernie’s idea was to unite small landowners who want their land to be logged sustainably with loggers who want to use sustainable logging methods. Because this is so small-scale that individual loggers and individual landowners can’t provide enough to really have any long-term markets for these products, the idea is to do it as a co-op. What Ernie would say is that we don’t need to diversify away from the timber industry, we need to diversify within timber. The idea of diversifying within the timber industry is to only use what the forest can give up as it recovers from the assault that it has sustained. If you do this on small scale with local people who are being displaced by the corporations, that provides an economic alternative for loggers so that they can stand up to the corporations. Ernie started talking to us last summer, and this is just coming into fruition now. The first jobs are just beginning to happen in the Mendocino Real Wood Co-op. There are only five or so now, but we are just starting our first timber harvest plan and have gotten a timber distributor in the Bay Area. It may be up to 20-30 jobs by the time this is printed. So that is the state of the worker coalition right now. We are working with Ernie and others to try to create an alternative economy, along with renouncing the corporations and trying to stop their cut-and-run logging.

Douglas Bevington: Isn’t sustainable forestry in the interest of the corporations?

Why do they practice cut-and-run?

Judi Bari: L-P, G-P, and MAXXAM are multinational corporations. G-P is the biggest timber corporation in the world. They own rainforests in Brazil. They own timber all over the place. What they own here is only a very small part of their holdings. None of these corporations are based here. They bought these lands in order to get the most profit out of them. They operate on a basis of short-term profit. They are not interested in long-term sustainability because they have no economic interest in the long-term health of this region. Their only interest is the long-term economic health of their company. Their interest is to get as much value out of here as fast as they can and move on, in this case, to Siberia.

There are different things that they can do with the land when they are done cutting it. If they just cut the old growth and leave some decent second growth and residual old growth, they can sell it to another timber company. If they leave nothing but tiny trees, which are called pecker poles , then they call sell it to a pulp company. And if they clearcut, they can sell it for real estate. The land still has value after they take the trees off of it. That short-term value of selling the land is much greater to the corporation than the long-term investment in the ecosystem and the local economy.

Anyway, second-growth redwood isn’t worth shit. It doesn’t have the qualities that old growth does. It’s not rot-resistant and things like that. And even by the most generous estimate, you can’t cut a redwood to make boards out of it for 50 years. So if they cut down the trees and planted new ones, they’d have to wait at least 50 years to get another saw log. L-P hasn’t existed for that long. The natural lifespan of a redwood is 1,000-2,000 years. Capital-ism hasn’t existed for 1,000 years!

A redwood tree does not even reach reproductive age, does not produce cones, for 100 years. They are cutting trees only halfway to reproductive age. So, these companies have almost ended natural reproduction of redwoods. Not only are they changing the ecosystem, but they are destroying its natural evolution.

Douglas Bevington: How has capital flight affected the struggles in your region?

Judi Bari: It was really a wake-up call for the timber workers in our region.

When L-P opened their Mexico mill, there was a shock wave through the area. L-P employees, Walter Smith being the most notable of them, stood up and denounced L-P. Walter Smith is a second-generation local logger. Not only did he speak out, but there was no racism in what he said. He said that the issue isn’t the nationality of the people who are milling the trees. It’s already about one-third Mexican in our area. The issue is the exploitation that’s going on by shipping it to Mexico, both the exploitation of our area and the exploitation of the Mexicans.

It was the Mexico mill that spurred people to speak out against L-P. Once they started talking, it wasn’t just the Mexico mill that they were talking about. We used it as a method of showing that corporations are not working in the interests of the workers and that they really are only interested in making money for themselves. This has made it really clear for us to be able to say that the problem here is not the timber workers versus the environmentalists. It’s the corporations versus the entire community. It’s capital flight that has been irrefutable on that.

Ultimately, L-P has got to go. “L-P out of Mendocino County” is one of our slogans. I don’t want them to do to Mexico what they’ve done to us, but I sure do want them to leave. And the soon-er they leave, the sooner we can come up with a community-based solution.

Douglas Bevington: How has your community been transformed by these struggles?

Judi Bari: What has been happening locally has been awesome. The movement has become really deeply community-based. Whereas it started out with just a few radical EF!ers, the concept of biocentrism is really the prevalent view among all environmental groups in Mendocino County now. A couple of years ago you couldn’t have said that. The actions have also become based in the community. The corporate state threw their worst at us in Redwood Summer, with the violence, assassination attempts, and frame-ups, but EF! didn’t back down. Three thousand people came to Redwood Summer. They sat in trees, blocked logging roads, chained them-selves to bulldozers, and, in scenes reminiscent of anti-Klan marches in the South, stood up to hatred and intimidation by marching thousands strong through logging towns. We stood up to it all with courage, principle, and nonviolence, maintaining our attitude of not being opposed to the workers. This really left us with a legacy of respect in the community. So when the trees start going down, what has happened in the years following is that the communities have called on EF! to help save their trees.

This last summer the prime example of that happened in what has come to be known as the Albion Uprising. Albion is an unincorporated area, population 200, about nine miles south of Mendocino on the coast. The community of Albion had been working through the system to protect their watershed for years. When L-P started cutting, the local activists asked us to come in and help. We came in with our tree-sitters and our expertise in organizing, and we joined in with the local community to mount a nine-week campaign of constant direct actions. It proved to be a really powerful combination. The first two tree-sitters were les-bians. We had a Native American tree-sitter. We had timber workers coming to our rallies and denouncing L-P. We cut across all of the traditional divisions in the environmental movement. And we came up with a community-based direct action movement. We just continued blockading L-P no matter what they did. They got injunctions against us. They filed a SLAPP suit against us. They arrested us, sometimes falsely. They did everything that they could to stop us, and we wouldn’t stop. We maintained nonviolence. We had all of these great creative tactics. We used one tactic called “yarning,” in which we take yarn and weave it in and out of the trees to slow down the logging. It is a great tactic because you have a hard time calling yarning “terrorist.” Yet, you can’t cut yarn with a chainsaw or a logger’s ax because it’s too flexible. You have to cut it with scissors. It’s this aggressively unmacho thing.

We slowed them down and created so much social unrest that finally after nine weeks they gave up. After realizing that they wouldn’t be able to stop us, the same courts who had ruled to let L-P cut at the beginning of the Albion Uprising ruled to stop it. So we shut them down in the entire watershed, and it has really had an impact throughout our community. What’s happened as a result of that has been an even further deepening into the community of the acceptance of direct action tactics. When you file a law-suit, they say that you first have to exhaust administrative remedies. Well, in Mendocino County, the remedies include chaining yourself to the bulldozers.

What’s happened so far this year is that the community of Albion, this time by itself, without needing to call in EF!, was able to stop a helicopter logging job by using the same kinds of combinations of direct action and filing lawsuits that we did be-fore. They stopped it much more quickly and easily because of the legacy and the knowledge of what happened last year.

Another example involves the Cahto Indians. The Cahto Wilderness, their tribal lands, were the first thing EF! ever saved by blockading in this county. Anyway, this year when they discovered that a toxic dump was leaking onto the Cahto Rancheria and poisoning the kids, Peggy Smith, one of the Cahto tribe members, chained herself to the gate and forced the county to close the dump. So what we see here is a community which has become empowered to take this kind of action, and its effectiveness has been proved, and it has gone way beyond EF! now. To me that really measures the success of the tactics.

Douglas Bevington: How has the particular character of your region helped in forming alliances with labor?

Judi Bari: One difference in this area where I live and work is that we do live here. Both sides, the EF!ers and the timber workers, live here—we are neighbors, and we live in the forests. That has given our North Coast redwood region environmental movement a different character than those in Oregon, for example, where most of the environmentalists live in the city and travel out to these vast tracts of public land for their environmental activity. It is really different here because the ecosystem is so fragmented that people live right in the areas that they are trying to save. The fact that we are neighbors, the fact that we all live rural lifestyles, has really proven to be some-thing that we have in common, that has enabled this area to develop differently than other areas as far as the possibilities of building timber worker alliances.

Douglas Bevington: In the past few years, there have been some important changes within EF!. You mentioned that some segments of EF! have disavowed tree spiking. Also, founding member Dave Foreman has left the organization. Could you comment on these changes, your role in them, and your opinion of EF! in general?

Judi Bari: The problem with EF! is that it is subject to a COINTELPRO operation similar to what was done to the Black Panthers and the American Indian Movement (AIM). So, it’s really hard to even comment on EF! because it is so disrupted that it is hard to tell what is coming from EF! for real and what is coming from the disruption campaign. Dave Foreman quit partially because of what was going on up here.

He thought that we were too radical. He thought I was a leftist and that I wasn’t really an EF!er because of my social views, particularly on labor issues. He thinks that the issue should be wilderness only and preservation only. I think that is foolish. There’s no point in even preserving wilderness if you don’t change the society that is destroying it. Social/environmental issues are too closely linked to even begin to separate them.

What should have happened when Dave left is that those who believe that social and environmental issues are linked should have prevailed within the organization. But because the organization is being disrupted by the FBI, there has been endless infighting. Still, the character of EF! has changed in a lot of ways in that it is no longer just this kind of macho, tree spiking, ecodude organization. It is a more broadly based group that considers more of the overall effects. We have been forming alliances all over the country with Native People and AIM in particular. This direction is definitely happening within EF!, but it’s happening in the context of a disruption campaign that continues to attempt to discredit us and make it as difficult for us as possible.

Douglas Bevington: What forms has the disruption campaign against EF! taken?

Judi Bari: Well, the bombing and attempted frame-up of me and Darryl were certainly part of it, as well as the infiltration of Arizona EF! by an agent provocateur and the subsequent arrest and jailing of Arizona EF!ers. But there are also more subtle indications of a continuing internal disruption campaign. I, in particular, have been targeted to be discredited within EF!, including the printing of really insulting letters about me in the EF! Journal coming from people we’ve never heard of in areas where there is no active EF! movement. They’ve followed the pattern that was established in COINTELPRO that was done with the Black Panthers and AIM to foment divisions within those groups. This same technique of sending very insulting letters back and forth between the factions appears to be occurring in EF!. There’s not only these letters from unknown people, called gray propaganda in FBI talk, but fake letters from known people, which the FBI calls black propaganda. One of Dave Foreman’s pen names was Chim Blea. The EF! Journal printed a very insulting letter directed towards the Northeast EF! group signed by Chim Blea. The next month a letter comes in from Dave Foreman saying that he had not writ-ten that letter. A letter that was equally insulting was written back from Buck Young, one of the key people in the Northeast. Buck said he didn’t write that. In fact, two letters from two different Buck Youngs were published in the same journal.

Richard Held, who is the FBI agent in charge of my case, pioneered these techniques. He has a 25-year history in COINTELPRO—he was in charge of the operations against the Black Panther Party in Los Angeles. He is one of three FBI agents named by Geronimo Pratt’s defense committee as being responsible for framing and jailing him. Geronimo was isolated from the Panthers in much the same way that they are trying to isolate me within EF!

From there, Richard Held went on to reorganize the remnants of the Minutemen, a right-wing paramilitary group, into the Secret Army Organization in the San Diego area in the early 1970s to spy on, harass, and attempt assassination of anti-Vietnam War activists. In the mid-1970s, Richard Held went to Pine Ridge South Dakota to join in the reign of terror against AIM. He participated in the framing and jailing of Leonard Peltier. He then went on to Puerto Rico in 1986, where he was in charge of the Puerto Rican FBI. He directed a campaign against the Independentistas movement. So Richard Held is a major scum. But I don’t want to put this all on one man. This is agency policy that we’re talking about here.

Anyway, the techniques used before and after the bombing are reminiscent of techniques used throughout Richard Held’s history. Richard Held personally went on television and said that Darryl and I were the only suspects in the bombing.

Douglas Bevington: You are suing the FBI right now because of that.

Judi Bari: Yes, I am. Actually, I really don’t have any faith in the court systems at all. The reason that I sued the FBI is because it is the only way that I knew to keep this case alive at all. The FBI tried to blame me and Darryl and frame us for the bombing. So what we’ve sued the FBI for is false arrest, illegal search and seizure-direct civil rights violations. But we’ve also sued them on a First Amendment conspiracy charge, which says that they arrested us for the bombing rather than investigate it, as an attempt to sabotage our political work in the manner of COINTELPRO by attempting to portray us as terrorists so that we would be isolated, discredited, and that they could sabotage the movement.

Essentially, we are suing the FBI for continuing to engage in COINTELPRO tactics 20 years after they were declared unconstitutional by a U.S. Congressional investigation. To my great surprise, we survived the motion to dismiss, and we are in the discovery phase of this lawsuit. As far as I know, we are the first political group that has succeeded in getting COINTELPRO addressed in a civil court. We’re demanding another congressional investigation, and we’re actually getting some place with the House Committee. They recently agreed to start an investigation of the FBI’s role in the case.

Douglas Bevington: On May 24, 1993, you held a press conference to release some of the findings of your own investigation. Could you describe what you found?

Judi Bari: Because we have the right of discovery in this case, we got released 300 photos and 270 pages of police reports from the Oakland police. I’m really amazed that they released them. I don’t think they were paying attention to what they were giving out. The photos show clear as day that the Oakland police lied and knew they were lying when they arrested us. They arrested us based on their claim that the bomb was on the backseat floorboard. Therefore, we should have seen it. Therefore, we knew we were carrying it and it was our bomb. Actually, the bomb was hidden under the driver’s seat. The police photos we have show that the front seat is blown through and that the backseat is intact. They have a side view of the car in which the frame is buckled under the front seat and the backseat is intact. They then removed the seat and photographed the explosion hole. That’s the most dramatic photo of all. First of all, it’s very horrible looking. This explosion was clearly meant to kill, not scare or maim, and it nearly did. This photo shows this huge hole in the floor with the metal curled back from a very clear epicenter. The hole is right under the front seat.

So, last week we decided to go public with this information on the anniversary of the bombing. And we put out a press release announcing that we were going to do so. As soon as we did that, two things happened. Richard Held resigned. He decided to take an early retirement at the age of 52. He announced his retirement on Friday. Our press conference was on Monday. Now, I’m not going to take credit for this retirement. He says it’s because the FBI told him that he had to transfer and he didn’t want to transfer. And I’m sure that his retirement has as much to do with the Democrats coming in and the fall of William Sessions as it does specifically with our case. But I can’t ignore the timing of Richard Held being up in his office cleaning out his desk, while we were standing on the front steps of his office displaying these photos. The other thing is that the FBI announced that they have closed the bombing case. Also, last week, our lawyers requested a document related to our court case. The lawyers were told by the court that the document has already been destroyed. Well, the statute of limitations isn’t up, and that document is specifically named in the lawsuit. So what I see going on is a cover-up.

Douglas Bevington: How has the rest of the environmental movement responded to yours and other EF!ers’ conflicts with the FBI?

Judi Bari: Right after the bombing we got at least lip service support from most of the big groups. But, by and large, most of them aren’t very aware of our struggles and many of them are fooled by the COINTELPRO operation, so they treat us like terrorists. One exception has been Greenpeace. Green-peace has supported us in several key areas. After the bombing they paid $30,000 for us to hire private investigators and bomb experts to help us defend ourselves and investigate the bombing.

But, on the whole, we are a grassroots movement and we don’t interact that well with something like the Sierra Club or these big, national, corporate-type movements that operate from the top-down, with big budgets, with underpaid canvassers that organize themselves exactly like a corporation. The one thing that I have found to be an effective combination, though, is direct action combined with lawsuits. The mainstream environmental groups sue on timber harvest plans or various legal violations associated with overcutting. What typically happens is that as soon as they get sued, the timber companies try to cut down every tree they can as fast as they can before the judge can rule on it. What we do is put our bodies out in front of the bulldozers to prevent them from doing that. This combination of direct action and legal action has proven really effective time after time.

Douglas Bevington: Logging practices in your region are shaped by regulatory agencies at the federal, state, and county levels. What has been your experience with agencies at each of these levels?

How responsive is each to social movement pressures?

Judi Bari: All of them are really at the beck and call of the corporations. If the laws were followed, the forest would not be being destroyed. The agencies sometimes will even admit that a cut is illegal, but still will not do anything to stop it. The agencies are really impotent. They are just part of the bureaucracy.

The real power is the corporations. That is why we take action directly against the corporations. That is why our technique is blocking production at the point of production. Although we may have an occasional demonstration at the Board of Forestry, that is not where we focus our energy. Because that is not where the power is. The power is at the corporate level. And our experience is that when we direct our actions at the point of production, towards the corporations, and ignore all of this bureaucracy, that is the only place we can really have any significant influence. Once you start blocking logging roads and once they find that they can’t get these logs out and still maintain any kind of social control and order up here, then all of the sudden the regulatory agencies start scurrying to make changes. But without people chaining them-selves to trees and blocking bulldozers, it does not matter how many complaints you file, they never do their job.

Douglas Bevington: You have said that lawsuits, combined with direct action, can be quite powerful, but you have also said that you have no faith in the court system. You say that state agencies are impotent, but you have attempted to use the Board of Supervisors to seize L-P’s holdings under eminent domain. Could you clarify what role you see for the state in these struggles?

Judi Bari: I don’t have any faith in the courts or regulatory agencies. They rarely enforce the regulations when that enforcement goes against the interest of the big corporations. That’s why we need to use direct action to pressure them. Without the direct action, nothing happens at all. With direct action, you can win on the narrower issues. I don’t think we can win on the larger issues without a revolution.

Douglas Bevington: But in the absence of a revolution, do you think it is effective to work to democratize the agencies of the state to make them more responsive to social movement pressure?

Judi Bari: I think we need to work on all levels, but I myself wouldn’t waste my time on that particular one. They respond to the social pressures when the social pressures become so great that it is difficult for the power structure to maintain control. I don’t know what you mean by working to democratize them. If you don’t have bags of money, lobbying doesn’t work.

Douglas Bevington: I was speaking more of structural changes within the state.

Judi Bari: I think they’ve been very adaptable. No matter what the structural change, they’ve managed to rear-range themselves. In 1970, there was this huge effort to do exactly what you are saying, to rear-range the bureaucracy to be more responsive and to deal with ecological issues. The Forest Practices Act was passed. This act was a great political victory with tremendous struggles around it. It called for forest management that will produce sustained yield of high-quality saw logs. That’s the law in California. The Board of Forestry and California Department of Forestry were formed to oversee and enforce this. You have to file a timber harvest plan, the equivalent of an environmental impact report. There were all of these bureaucratic changes. Well, last year the Department of Forestry admitted in a report that under their oversight there has been complete depletion of the forests. Under this act, which has really strong language, and under this structure, which really appears to give some kind of democratization and control, by their own admission in the last ten years 90 percent of the remaining private old growth and 50 percent of all private forest lands have been cut. The companies have so much power that they infiltrate whatever agency you put in charge. You can put all of your effort into reforming the bureaucracy, and the corporations will just take over what-ever new bureaucracy you set up.

Douglas Bevington: How do you see the arrival of the Clinton administration affecting logging practices in northern California?

Judi Bari: What I really see is a sense of false hope with the Clinton administration. Nothing could be worse than the Reagan-Bush years. So I do not want to discount the advantage of having Bruce Babbitt instead of James Watt, but I think that it is just a matter of degree because the basic system is still intact. Some of the larger outrages may be stopped for a while. But unless we change the underlying problems, it is not really going solve anything. The problem I see with the Clinton administration is a relaxing of some of the vigilance of some of the environmental groups and the belief that now the government is on their side. I don’t think that the government is on our side.

Douglas Bevington: What kind of revolution do you view as necessary to create a sustainable relationship with the forests?

Judi Bari: I don’t believe that it’s possible to save the Earth under capitalism because I think that capitalism is based on the exploitation of the Earth, just like it’s based on the exploitation of workers. But I don’t believe that traditional Marxist socialism is the answer either. Marx speaks only of redistributing the spoils of raping the Earth more equitably among the class of humans. He doesn’t address the relationship of the society to the Earth, and I think that is one of the principal contradictions. We need to find a new way to live on the Earth without destroying the Earth or exploiting lower classes. It needs to be socially just and it needs to be biocentric. We are calling this Revolutionary Ecology.

Douglas Bevington: What sort of direction do you see yourself moving in the years ahead? Do you plan to attempt the eminent domain strategy again?

Judi Bari: I wish I had the nerve to, but I’m afraid of get-ting killed. I think that’s why they tried to kill me. That was the final impetus. Maybe one of these days I’ll get up the nerve, but they did a good job of scaring me. I cannot do what I used to do—I am physic-ally disabled from the bombing, and I think that my physical condition is declining. It certainly is not getting any better, so I see myself more in a position of writing. The FBI lawsuit is going to take a ton of my energy. So I see myself doing more writing, more working on the lawsuit and exposing the FBI and the timber companies, and less actually physically being out there on the lines as I used to.

Douglas Bevington: Finally, what lessons do your experiences offer about the application of class issues to environmental struggles?

Judi Bari: The people who do apply class analysis are subjected to tremendous repressive forces, including violence, blacklisting, and a sophisticated propaganda campaign to keep workers and environ-mentalists fighting each other. In my case, that force culminated in a car bomb assassination attempt and a FBI frame-up. That was the second assassination attempt on me in only 10 months’ time. I don’t think it’s legitimate to try to analyze this problem of environment and class without taking this repression into account. Why aren’t the timber workers speaking out?

Because loggers who open their mouths get fired and blacklisted. But there have been some tremendously articulate and principled loggers and mill workers that have spoken out—Walter Smith, Gene Lawhorn, Dave Chism, Pete Kayes, Ernie Pardini—whose contributions to the struggle have been really great. And they’ve been unrecognized outside of the activist circle.

It needs to be recognized that the reason for this repression is that we are effective. The last thing that capitalists want is for environmental ideas to get into the hands of the workers. As long as environ-mental ideas are isolated among privileged people, they are not really going to do that much damage. The most that an environmental group can do is ask the government to write a law to try to get the corporations to do something different. But if radical ideas were in the hands of the timber workers, for example, they could simply refuse to cut by those methods, if they were organized. So the potential for bringing about change is greater if radical ideas are held by the workers themselves. That’s why there has been such tremendous pressure to stop anybody who expresses those ideas. I think that has been largely unacknowledged. It needs to be recognized, and people who take these steps need to be supported by the rest of the movement.

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