LANGELLE PHOTOGRAPHY

Using the power of photojournalism to expose social and ecological injustice

Late 80s to Late 90s

As Leslie Marmon Silko says in her book Ceremony, “…as long as you remember what you have seen, then nothing is gone. As long as you remember, it is part of this story we have together.”

Photographs: Orin Langelle  – Exhibit Opened 3 April 2015 – Closing Reception held 19 June 2015 –                          ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery in Buffalo’s (NY) Allentown District

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Activist atop tripod during Forest Activist Training Week in northeast VT (1998)

These Forest Activist Training Weeks took place over many years and hundreds of activists were trained in non-violent direct action, including blockading, banner making, climbing, tree-sitting, and tripod construction.

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Struggles for Justice: Forests, Land and Human Rights – Late 80s to Late 90s is dedicated to Judi Bari (7 November 1949- 2 March 1997). May 24th of this year will mark the 25th anniversary of the attempt to kill Bari when a pipe bomb exploded under the seat of her car. Bari maintained she was targeted due to her success in bringing environmentalists and mill workers together to protect the ancient redwoods.

A photograph of Judi Bari is at the end of the exhibit portion of this posting along with a detailed caption. There is also a collage of her car after it was bombed.

The following are photographic examples of the many campaigns and issues which Langelle was fortunate to be involved in and document. All of the photographs were shot with 35 mm Nikon Cameras using film. There are additional photos following this exhibit as an added feature.

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Fairview Forever (1990)

Earth First!ers (and Ronald Reagan) blockade the Fairview Timber Sale area in the Shawnee National Forest in southern IL by burying themselves up to their necks.

Earth First! occupied the timber sale area for 79 days – at that time the longest occupation in EF! history. The area slated to be cut was rich in biodiversity, a haven for songbirds and loved by the many locals who went there to watch the birds, camp or enjoy nature.

The major daily newspaper in Springfield, IL, the state’s capital, called the Earth First! occupation “a popular uprising.”

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The Biscuit (1990)

Woman with monkey wrench atop buried Chevrolet Biscayne, nicknamed “The Biscuit,” in a car blockade of the Fairview timber sale in the Shawnee. The car blocked the entrance to the Shawnee National Forest during the EF! occupation. The car blockade was a replica of a photo taken during the then-ongoing “Oka Crisis.”

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia,

The Oka Crisis was a 78-day standoff (11 July–26 September 1990) between Mohawk protesters, police, and the army. At the heart of the crisis was the proposed expansion of a golf course and development of condominiums on disputed land that included a Mohawk burial ground. Tensions were high, particularly after the death of Corporal Marcel Lemay, a police officer, and the situation was only resolved after the army was called in. While the golf course expansion was cancelled, and the land purchased by the federal government, it has not yet been transferred to the Kanesatake Mohawk community.

EF!ers in the Shawnee publicly stood in solidarity with the Mohawks and also with Redwood Summer, a major national mobilization to save the last of the ancient redwoods. Earlier that year, EF! Redwood Summer organizer Judi Bari was almost killed when a pipe bomb exploded under the seat of the car she was driving.

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God Bless America (1990)

U.S. Forest Service uses a blowtorch to cut the kryptonite lock attaching a Shawnee defender  (under the silver shield) to a piece of logging equipment. The activist, who turned thirty years old that day and was wanted by the Forest Service for entering a closure area illegally, turned himself in by locking his neck to the logging skidder. The Forest Service responded by putting an aluminum shield around his head and cutting off the lock with an acetylene torch while he sang, “God Bless America.”

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Stumps Suck (1989)

In the late 1980s, forest activists from Illinois and Missouri blockaded two entrances of Illinois’ Trail of Tears State Forest where active logging was taking place.

The action made headlines in print, radio and television throughout the state and the public was outraged to learn that their state forests were being logged.

Due to the public outcry spurred by the blockade, the logging was stopped.

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“Ned Kelly Bushrangers” drop banner on Forestry Commission Tasmania in Tasmania, Australia (1992)

Office workers inside of the building fled and the entire Forestry Commission Tasmania was taken over by the demonstrators.

After stopping all work that day, many of the protesters retired to a local working class pub. When the evening news came on, workers in the pub were upset about the protests and tensions began to flare. One of the protesters stood up from his bar stool and began singing the famous Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) song, “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum.” The workers knew the song, tensions abated, and the workers bought the protesters many rounds of beer as it was evident the protesters were not against workers, but against the exploitation of the workers, and the timber industry itself.

The First International Temperate Forest Conference took place in Tasmania around the time the photo was taken. The conference led to the formation of the Native Forest Network.

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Arrested for handing out fliers (1996)

This activist was arrested for handing out fliers urging the public to write their senators and congresspeople in opposition to the Kearsarge North timber sale in the White Mountain National Forest of NH. The arrest occurred in North Conway, NH, after a Northeast EF! Regional Rendezvous.

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Putting your neck on the line (1997)

Activist locks down with a kryptonite lock onto R & J Chipping Enterprise’s wood chipping machine at the Maine – New Hampshire border after a Forest Activist Training Week in VT. Another protester offers support.

The protester unlocked himself after employees threatened to remove the lock “with a sledgehammer.” The entire chip mill was shut down for the day.

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Earth First! and Mud People expose Monsanto’s 1990 Earth Day takeover (1990)

Earth First! and “Mud People” present a check to the 1990 Earth Day Committee in St. Louis, Missouri. Monsanto was the main sponsor of the event.

The action was the feature evening news story on a major television network affiliate in St. Louis with a reporter attempting to interview a mud person. An Earth First! “translator” fielded the reporter’s questions in English and then translated to the mud person in mud language; the mud person responded in mud language and then the Earth First! translator gave the answer to the reporter.

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Protester protesting mud person protester at the 1990 Earth Day in St. Louis (1990)

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“No judge, you’re out of order” (1991)

Abenaki Chief Homer St. Francis (right) points finger at the judge who presided over court cases against Abenaki for their refusal to recognize the state of Vermont or the United States. The judge told St. Francis that he was out of order and the Chief replied, “No judge, you’re out of order.”

The Abenaki never ceded their land to any state or federal government. They issued their own license plates, fishing and hunting permits, and demanded all Abenaki land be returned. Many were arrested numerous times for their actions.

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Hello Columbus (1992)

Demonstrator participates in a protest in Burlington, VT on 12 October 1992, the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ invasion of the Americas. Earlier that day activists blockaded a major bridge across the Winooski River; there was one arrest.

Just prior to this day, the VT Supreme Court issued a ruling that all Abenaki claims had been “extinguished due to the increasing weight of history.” Protesters went to the VT Supreme Court and used sandbags to blockade the judges in their chamber stating, “This is the increasing weight of our resistance.”

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Cree elder woman, Whapmagoostui (Great Whale), north of James Bay on Hudson Bay, Cree Territory (1993)

This photo was taken during a month-long documentary and fact-finding trip to the James and Hudson Bay regions of Northern Quebec, Canada. During the trip, Anne Petermann and Orin Langelle learned first-hand from the people who were involved in the day-to-day struggle against the multinational Hydro-Quebec exactly what the current situation was, both with the people already impacted by the nearly completed La Grande (Phase 1) Project and also with those fighting to stop Phase II, the Great Whale Project.

Hydro-Quebec’s La Grande Project dam flooded thousands of hectares of Cree land, displacing all Cree in the area. An untimely water release from this dam drowned 10,000 migrating caribou.

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On Ice (1994)

Activists in front of the Quebec Government Office (Consulate) in London, England hold a banner protesting Hydro-Quebec dams on Cree territory in Quebec. The Native Forest Network called for an International Day of Action on Hydro-Quebec’s 50th anniversary. There were over eighteen protests in six countries. After many years of First Nations’ intense resistance, and shortly after the global day of action, Hydro-Quebec put the Great Whale hydroelectric project “on ice” indefinitely.

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Border action against “free trade” (1993)

Protesters, mostly students, at the U.S.-Canada border near Swanton, VT attempt to blockade commercial traffic in opposition to the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Border Patrol guard (left) attempts to clear the border highway.

On 1 January 1994, when NAFTA went into effect, Indigenous Peoples from Chiapas, Mexico, calling themselves the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation), held an uprising against NAFTA. They called NAFTA “a death sentence for the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico.” The uprising continues to this day.

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Speaking out against the World Bank and U.S. (1995)

Cecilia Rodriguez, U.S. representative of the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation), speaks at a rally in Washington, DC protesting the World Bank’s 50th anniversary and Mexico President Zedillo’s visit to the U.S. In her speech she demanded suspension of U.S. military and technical assistance to Mexico for any purpose until human rights violations cease. While in southeastern Mexico two weeks later, Cecilia Rodriguez was brutally raped by Mexican paramilitary.

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One of the first shots over the capitalist bow prior to the Battle of Seattle (1999)

Activists hang 600 square foot banner on the Toronto Convention Center (Canada) where trade ministers from 34 countries had one of their first meetings to plan the Free Trade Area of the Americas. The FTAA was a new neoliberal trade agreement that would expand the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) from Alaska to Chile.

Protesters hung the banner only a few weeks prior to the Battle of Seattle where 50,000 activists shut down the ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO). One of the protesters called Toronto one of the first shots over the capitalist bow prior to the WTO meeting.

Militant anti-globalization protests against the FTAA occurred in Windsor, Ontario; Quebec City; and in Miami. The FTAA was called off after the mass-protests in Miami in 2003.

Today people are fighting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement.

The TPP involves the United States and eleven Pacific Rim nations – Australia, Brunei, Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and Japan – who are negotiating yet another unjust trade deal.

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When raining on a parade is not enough (1995)

At the National Governors’ Association conference in Burlington, VT, hundreds gathered to protest the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal, an award-winning journalist and political prisoner. Militant protests spanned five days.

Pennsylvania’s then-Governor, Thomas Ridge, had ordered Jamal to be executed.

Then-Governor and former presidential candidate, Howard Dean, called the militant protests an embarrassment to the state. Anarchists took this as a compliment. One of the protesters commented, “We not only rained on their parade, we pissed on it.”

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Arrests while attempting to block President Clinton’s motorcade at National Governors’ Association conference in Burlington, VT (1995)

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Major protests in England over motorway construction in the 1990s; this protest was in East London (1994)

Exploring 20th Century London states:

One of Britain’s largest and longest anti-road building protests took place in East London during the 1980s and 90s. It came to a climax in 1993 when, after exhausting all other avenues, the campaign turned to direct action.

The protest concerned the demolition of 400 houses in Leyton, Leytonstone and Wanstead to make way for an inner-city motorway. The new road was to link the M11, opened in the early 1970s, to London’s road network. This meant pushing the road through the Victorian terrace streets between Hackney marshes and Redbridge roundabout.

The first Link Road Action Group was formed in 1976. For the next 15 years, the residents fought government plans through public enquiries. The residents’ solution was to build a road tunnel, leaving the houses untouched. By the 1980s, planning blight had affected the area and many of the houses had become home to a community of artists and squatters. Some were tenants of the housing co-operative ACME, which let derelict East End property to artists on short leases.

Construction of the road began in the early 1990s, followed in 1993 by the start of a direct action campaign to resist the final evictions. Residents transformed the Victorian terraces into a makeshift walled city, blocking up the entrances and creating new interior routes between the houses and over the rooftops. The streets became a daily battle of wills between the bailiffs, trying to evict people, and the inventive residents.

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London barricade of proposed motorway (1994)

The presence of so many artists created a visual protest. The houses themselves were turned into works of art, vividly decorated with slogans and banners.

The protestors’ last bastion was Claremont Road, where the final evictions took place in December 1994. By this time, the protest had become an international news story and the world’s press and media witnessed the occasion.

“Romans go home” refers to the first road builders in Britain: the Roman invaders.

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92-year-old Dolly Watson, in front of her home on Claremont Road, East London (1994)

Dolly was born, survived two wars, and lived in this home all of her life. Her home was scheduled to be demolished for the motorway. She vowed to stay to the end.

She was affectionately called “Dolly: Queen of the Street” by the anti-road protesters. Watson said of the protesters, “they’re not dirty hippy squatters, they’re the grandchildren I never had.” The Department of Transport eventually came to evict her from her lifelong home. After a bitter struggle she was taken away to the hospital and placed in an ‘old people’s home,’ which she hated. She passed away soon after.

The road was eventually built as planned, and opened to traffic in 1999, but the increased costs involved in management, and policing of protesters raised the profile of such anti-road campaigns in the United Kingdom, and contributed to several road projects being cancelled. Those involved in the protest moved on to oppose other such schemes in the country.

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Earth First! tribal dance declares war on the U.S. at the NM Rendezvous in the Jemez Mountains (1989)

*24 Keith McHenry

Artist, activist, and author Keith McHenry at a San Francisco, CA demonstration for Mumia Abu-Jamal (1999)

McHenry co-founded Food Not Bombs in Boston with seven friends in 1980. He enjoyed his childhood living at the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Shenandoah and several other National Parks. He studied painting at Boston University and started a graphic design company called Brushfire Graphics.

He has recovered, cooked and shared food with the hungry through Food Not Bombs for nearly 35 years. McHenry was arrested “for making a political statement” by sharing vegan meals in San Francisco, and has spent a total of two years in jail and faced 25 years to life in prison. He has written two books including “Hungry for Peace – How you can help end poverty and war with Food Not Bombs.”

McHenry lives with his partner and fellow Food Not Bombs activist, Abbi Samuels, in Santa Cruz, California and at their farm in Taos, New Mexico. He enjoys tending to their gardens, sharing meals with the hungry, maintaining their website and helping coordinate logistics for Food Not Bombs. He is an experienced public speaker and gives presentations at colleges and conferences all over the world. McHenry also draws, paints, and writes about social justice issues.

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Earth First! and the Industrial Workers of the World ( IWW) join autoworkers in a Fenton, MO protest against Chrysler (1989)

Judi Bari (1994)

Judi Bari (1994)

Judi Bari, center, walks on a Pacific Ocean beach in California with the support of two women friends

About Judi Bari

Judi Bari was a North American environmentalist and labor leader, a feminist, and the principal organizer of Earth First! campaigns against logging in the ancient redwood forests of Northern California in the 1980s and ’90s. She also organized efforts through Earth First! – Industrial Workers of the World Local 1 to bring timber workers and environmentalists together in common cause.

Photos of the pipe bombed car in Oakland, CA. Photos courtesy: judibari.org

Photos of the pipe bombed car in Oakland, CA. Photos courtesy: judibari.org

In 1986, Houston millionaire Charles Hurwitz acquired Pacific Lumber Company and doubled its rate of timber harvesting as a means of paying off the acquisition cost. This enraged environmentalists and drew attention from government agencies because of his use of junk bonds.

In 1989 Judi and other Earth First!ers came up with the idea of Redwood Summer, protests inspired by Freedom Summer, and by the Freedom Riders of the civil rights movement. Bari was instrumental in the process of calling in demonstrators from college campuses across the United States. Reactions to her lobbying tactics were severe, including the ramming of her car by a logging truck in 1989, as well as death threats.

On 24 May 1990, in Oakland, California, the vehicle used by Bari and colleague Darryl Cherney was blown up by a pipe bomb under Bari’s seat. Bari was severely injured, but was arrested for transporting explosives while she was still in critical condition with a shattered pelvis and other major injuries. The FBI took jurisdiction of the case away from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, alleging it was an eco-terrorism case.

Bari’s injuries disabled her to the extent that she had to curtail her activities. While she lay healing, Redwood Summer took place. In late July 1990, the Oakland district attorney declined to press charges against Bari and Cherney, claiming insufficient evidence. The false arrests and illegal search warrants became the basis of Bari’s civil rights suit filed the following year but not decided until 2002, five years after her death, when her estate was awarded $4 million in damages.

Recently Mary Liz Thompson and Darryl Cherney produced the documentary Who bombed Judi Bari?

Additional photographs follow after this brief statement on the show by Orin Langelle: Struggles For Justice: Forests, Land and Human Rights – Late 80s to Late 90s

Many emotions have flown in and out of my mind putting this exhibit together. Twenty-five years ago Judi Bari was bombed. Twenty-five years ago the longest Earth First! Blockade, at that time, took place.

All of the photos in this exhibit, shot on film, bring back memories; too numerous to explain. And maybe too personal to express except for the photos themselves.

Many of the people portrayed in these photos put their personal safety at risk in the struggle for justice.

While many of these struggles resulted in victory, I still wonder if the direction I took as a human and the chances I’ve taken really mattered. I guess I’ll never really know, but I know I didn’t, and couldn’t, stand with those who think they are powerful.

While working on the show there were two statements that encouraged and gave me some solace and the will to continue:

It is wrong to expect a reward for your struggles. The reward is the act of struggle itself, not what you win. Even though you can’t expect to defeat the absurdity of the world, you must make that attempt. That’s morality, that’s religion. That’s art. That’s life. — Phil Ochs

Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. — Paulo Freire

Venceremos,

Orin Langelle     3 April 2015

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The following photos were taken by Orin Langelle and originally published in a photo essay entitled Defending the Earth/Stopping Injustice. The above photos from the exhibit Struggles For Justice: Forests, Land and Human Rights – Late 80s to Late 90s were interspersed throughout that essay.

Stopping Ecological Disaster

IslBG

Stopping Dolphins from being caught in tuna nets (1988)

Banner drop on three-story building where Ralston Purina shareholders were meeting in St. Louis, MO. Ralston at that time owned Chicken of the Sea tuna, and their boats were killing thousands of dolphins caught in their tuna fishing nets. The building was free-climbed by the activist above, using no ropes.

Spurred by actions such as the above banner drop, environmentalists launched a nationwide consumer boycott of the three major tuna processors in the US: Heinz’ StarKist Tuna, Ralston Purina’s Chicken of the Sea and Pillsbury’s Bumble Bee Tuna. Together, these three companies controlled 70% of US tuna market. In 1990, after two years of concerted efforts by environmental groups, all three tuna processors agreed voluntarily to accept only “dolphin-safe” tuna, meaning tuna that was not caught by purse seine fishing or drift nets.

The Ocean Conservatory reports:

In 1990, Congress enacted the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act (DPCIA), which established criteria for labeling canned tuna products as “dolphin safe.” To carry the label, tuna caught in the Eastern Tropical Pacific must have been caught on a trip during which no dolphins were encircled…Dolphin encirclement continues in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, but gear innovations, altered fishing methods, and international education efforts have reduced dolphin mortality in encirclement dramatically, by as much as 99 percent.

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Stopping a Three-Mile Island nuclear waste train (1988)

This train derailed in Times Beach, MO two weeks before depleted uranium from Three Mile Island was scheduled to pass on those tracks. EF! staged a protest during a fundraiser for then MO Senator John C. Danforth. Due to the action Danforth stopped the shipment.

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Stopping industrial and residential development in a St. Louis green belt area (1989)

Big River Earth First!ers, calling themselves the “New James Gang” hung this banner next to I-44 outside of St. Louis, MO. “Forest 44” was the largest green area outside a major metropolitan city west of the Mississippi River and was scheduled for industrial and residential development. Forest 44, due to public outcry, still remains intact as the developers were kept out.

Indigenous Sovereignty issues and solidarity

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Abenaki Chief Homer St. Francis speaks to reporters outside of courtroom in VT. (1991)

The Abenaki never ceded their land to any state or federal government. Because the Abenaki issued their own license plates, fishing and hunting permits, and demanded all Abenaki land be returned to the them, many were arrested and harassed numerous times for their actions.

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Burlington, VT protest on the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ invasion of the Americas 12 October (1992)

Just prior to this day, the VT Supreme Court issued a ruling that all Abenaki claims had been “extinguished due to the increasing weight of history.” Protesters went to the VT Supreme Court and used sandbags to blockade the judges in their chamber stating, “This is the increasing weight of our resistance.”

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Police prepare to use nunchucks on protester during a blockade of the major bridge between Burlington and Winooski, VT on 12 October (1992)

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Climber on crane protests construction of a dam on the Winooski River, in Vermont in solidarity with the Abenaki (1992)

Winooski is the Abenaki word for “onion.” The Abenaki were going through intense legal trials in VT for their refusal to recognize the state of VT or the U.S. The Abenaki never ceded their land to the state or federal government.

James Bay – Indigenous Peoples vs. Hydro-Quebec

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Rupert River, one of the rivers that were scheduled to be diverted by Hydro-Quebec as part of the James Bay Project on Cree Indigenous Territory (1993)

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Scene north of James Bay, on Hudson Bay, Cree Territory (1993)

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Cree trapper’s tent in Whapmagoostui, Cree Territory, near the Great Whale River (1993)

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Hydro-Quebec dam in Cree territory (1993)

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Welcome sign in Chisasibi, Quebec – where displaced Cree were forced to relocate (1993)

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Cree car in Chisasiibi, Quebec (1993)

-*27 Cree Elder Women, Quebec

Cree elder women listen to presenter in Whapmagoostui at the first gathering of Cree, Innu and Inuit assembled to discuss the James Bay Project (1993)

Cree Helen Atkinson stated, “Cree culture has a lot to offer in the area of nature, which is something very much needed in the world. In western society, everything is segregated. That is what is ruining the world. People have to think more holistically about their actions. Everything comes down to ‘how much money can I make from this.’ Until this changes, all this talk of environmental protection is bullshit.”

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Pristine stream runs free in Cree territory (1993)

Cree Robbie Dick stated, “The importance of saving the environment is as important as saving one’s life. The land is our life.”

The Zapatista Uprising

19 Zapatista ComandanteA Comandante wearing a Che Guevara shirt in La Realidad, Chiapas (1996)

The Zapatistas condemned NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) as “a death sentence for the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico” due to many of its unjust provisions, but especially that which eliminated Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution.

Article 27, which guaranteed the rights to communal ejido lands in Mexico, was an outcome of the revolution led by Emilano Zapata – after whom the Zapatistas took their name – in the early part of the 20th century.

But in order for NAFTA – the free trade agreement between Canada, the US and Mexico – to be passed, Article 27 had to be eliminated. Its eradication was accomplished by Edward Krobacker, the Forestry Division Vice President and later CEO of International Paper. He intervened due to the fact that most of Mexico’s forests were on ejido lands, meaning they could not easily be obtained or controlled by multinational corporations such as IP.

According to anthropologist Dr. Ronald Nigh:

In June of 1995, the [Mexican] government received a letter from Edward Krobacker, of International Paper… establishing a series of conditions, some requiring changes in Mexico’s forestry law, to “create a more secure legal framework” for IP’s investment. According to La Jornada, all of Krobacker’s (original) demands were agreed to and new forestry legislation has been prepared. Upon returning from a Wall Street meeting with Henry Kissinger and other top financial celebrities, [then-Mexico President] Zedillo announced the rejection of proposed legislation that would have implemented the Zapatista accords. Instead he presented a counterproposal, designed to be unacceptable, which the Zapatistas rejected. Shortly thereafter, Environmental Minister Carabias announced a large World Bank loan for “forestry,” i.e. commercial plantations.

New_La Realidad_2_card

Comandante in La Realidad, Chiapas, Mexico—headquarters for the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee, General Command of the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation). Rebel territory, Mexico (1996)

 

Nicaragua’s Bosawas Reserve

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Man from the community of New Fenicia explains what a SOLCARSA plywood installation did to his original community (1998)

Nicaragua’s east coast featured the largest intact tropical rainforest ecosystem north of the Amazon Basin.  SOLCARSA (a South Korean multinational) began illegally cutting in the Bosawas on Indigenous Peoples’ territory in 1997. Fenicia was forcibly relocated to make room for the installation.

Due to internal and international pressure, SOLCARSA was forced to shut down. At that time over 186,000 sq. kilometers of original forest were saved. Unfortunately illegal logging continues in the Bosawas and the reserve is being depleted of its biodiversity, threatening the lifeways of forest dwelling peoples.

Resistance in the northeastern United States

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Paper mill in Rumford, ME (1994)

Langelle moved to Burlington, Vermont in the fall of 1991 and immediately became embroiled in ecological issues and Indigenous Rights struggles in the northeastern U.S.

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The funeral of Lake Monster “Champ” (1991)

Earth First!ers prepare “Champ”, the beloved Lake Champlain sea monster, for a funeral procession, claiming International Paper Company killed it with their discharges of dioxin into Lake Champlain.

The protest received widespread media coverage in VT and upstate NY. International Paper countered by issuing a press release blaming EF! for causing a “spill” of over 250,000 gallons of untreated wastewater contaminated by dioxin the next day. EF! spokespeople explained to the media that EF! works to stop environmental catastrophes, not cause them.

At a NY state environmental hearing to see if IP would be allowed to continue dumping dioxin into the lake, there was a person running around in a “Champ” suit, proclaiming “Champ Lives.” IP was allowed to continue business as usual.

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Like father, like son (1997)

Father’s Day Action at the Maine – New Hampshire border where the office of the R & J Chipping Enterprise’s chip mill was located. (Father on left, son right.)

The action occurred after a Forest Activist Training Week in VT.

-*43 steve cassini075Protester being arrested after locking down to U.S. Senator James Jeffords’ desk, in Burlington, VT to protest the Cassini space launch. (1997)

Cassini is an unmanned spacecraft sent to the planet Saturn. The Cassini rocket is powered by 72 pounds of plutonium — the most ever rocketed into space. Protesters pointed out that if the rocket exploded on takeoff, or crashed into the Earth, it could permanently irradiate the planet.

Eleven people were arrested in Burlington, Vermont when they protested the Cassini launch by carrying 72 lbs. of cow manure into the office of U.S. Senator James Jeffords, a Republican. The protesters chained themselves by the neck to his desk with bike locks. The Burlington Fire Department had to cut the desk apart to remove the demonstrators. There were demonstrations across the U.S. including at Cape Canaveral, the launch site.

In support of Mumia Abu-Jamal

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National Governors’ Association conference in Burlington, VT (1995)

People were protesting the Contract on America and the potential execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal, an award-winning journalist and political prisoner. Militant protests spanned five days. (1995)

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Graffiti at National Governors’ Association conference in Burlington, VT. The graffiti was spray-painted all over the Ethan Allen homestead garage

Stopping herbicide spraying in Vermont

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Anti-herbicide spraying protest at the VT state capitol in Montpelier (1995)

Leading the march is Marsha Burnett, an activist and one of the longest survivors of HIV-AIDS at that time.

In August of 1995, VT’s Department of Agriculture granted a permit to Boise Cascade paper company to aerially spray applications of Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide “RoundUp” on their forestland. Champion International, then the largest landholder in VT, also wanted to spray the herbicide.

The Eastern North American office of the Native Forest Network declared that chemical warfare has been declare on VT forests.

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Abenaki testifies against herbicide spraying in VT (1996)

Public forums were held throughout the state. The overwhelming majority of people were against the spraying. At one point, angry protesters disrupted the full body of the Forest Resources Advisory Council (FRAC). FRAC was appointed by Governor Howard Dean to make a recommendation on the spray or no spray decision.

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Monsanto PR man at herbicide spraying public forum (1996)

During the public forums, industry consistently said the herbicide was less harmful to humans than salt, coffee, or aspirins. They had clearly never read the warning label.

After a long struggle that included direct action and organizing the public, Vermont was forced to declare a moratorium on the spraying. It became a de facto ban and Champion International and Boise Cascade sold their VT holdings and left the state.

Biotechnology

-*51.5 -Hitler

Protesters disrupt Biotechnology Center dedication at the University of VT (1993)

After an Earth First! northeast regional rendezvous, EF!ers, anarchists, and members of the Vermont Biotechnology Working Group stormed the ribbon-cutting dedication of the Stafford Center, the University of Vermont’s new biotechnology building. The “luminaries” who were outside consecrating the center were chased inside another building where the dedication finally took place, much to the chagrin of of the assembled dignitaries and government officials (including VT Senator Leahy and VT Lt. Gov. Snelling).

The protesters did not leave and when the “in-exile benediction” ended, police had to link arms to provide the dignitaries and government officials an exit.

The University of Vermont has a dark past when it comes to association with people trying to manipulate genetics.

From The New Atlantis:

Henry F. Perkins, a zoology professor at the University of Vermont and sometime-president of the American Eugenics Society, was head of his state’s efforts to “improve” the population, overseeing a major genealogical study begun in 1927. In conjunction with various aid societies and social work groups, Perkins masterminded the Eugenics Survey, a project seeking to ferret out Vermont families of medical or social concern and recommend them for sterilization…

The Nazis’ debt to a great body of American eugenics theory is well known, and was only embarrassing to the Americans after the fact. Psychologist Henry Herbert Goddard prophesied as much in an eerie 1934 letter to H. F. Perkins:

We have carried on for several years and what have we accomplished? It was good fun as long as we could afford it, but now it is a different matter. If Hitler succeeds in his wholesale sterilization, it will be a demonstration that will carry eugenics farther than a hundred Eugenics Societies could. If he makes a fiasco of it, it will set the movement back where a hundred eugenic societies can never resurrect it.

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