An article from Do or Die Issue 5. In the paper edition, this article appears on page(s) 35-39.
All over the world people are fighting back. In this issue alone stories of resistance are heard from Australia, Russia, Canada, Poland, France, the Solomon Islands, Bougainville, Mexico, America, Germany, Eire, the Czech Republic, Italy, India, Norway and Holland. Reading these accounts two things strike you immediately.
Firstly, we are not alone - we are part of a movement that spans the globe. Whether you're barricading a house, stealing some food from your local mega-store, locked on to a bulldozer, or for that matter trashing the damned things, you can be certain that in numerous places around the globe, people are doing exactly the same. Wherever there is oppression, exploitation and destruction, there is resistance.
The second thing that strikes you is that whenever we take back land to defend it, there's always a seemingly endless supply of men and women in uniforms who, under orders from the state or the companies, will happily bludgeon us, destroy our homes, throw us in the clink and/or kill us. The financial interests that now undermine the life support systems of the earth and make our lives increasingly miserable work internationally - so should we.
Let's start talking and acting with our brothers and sisters around the world. By communicating with activists in other countries we can realise the strengths and weaknesses of our own tactics and ideas. As a movement, let us not be tied to national boundaries, after all, the earth recognises no such borders. By realising ourselves internationally we can start to be a serious threat to the system.
Last year a government came to power in the Solomon Islands (just across the water from Bougainville and Papua New Guinea), that was supposedly committed to ending log exports and safeguarding the environment. This year, log exports from the islands are set to double.
Nowhere is the logging more intense than in the Western Province, an archipelago of rainforested islands ringed with clear coral lagoons. Scorned by the government and the Malaysian-owned Golden Spring logging company, villagers in Northern Marova have decided to fight back. Five of the company's bulldozers were set on fire on New Georgia island, causing damage estimated at more than $100,000.
In southern Marova, the forest in the mountainous interior of Vanguna island has been leased out to the Malaysian logging company Sylvania (One of the most notorious of all the Malaysian 'timber beasts'). The rivers the people drink from are running with mud that is choking the reefs. According to Ezekiel Padakana, a local tribal, reefs are being irreparably damaged as Sylvania mines live coral to surface its logging roads. Padakana says that if his tribe do not regain their land and if the destruction of reefs and forests do not stop, more bulldozers and other company property on Vanguna will go up in smoke!
"Hundreds of rioters broke into a McDonald's restaurant, two banks and several shops in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, and smashed their interiors in New Year's Day riots. They emptied the hamburger restaurant's furniture and threw it into a bonfire on the street, police said Leftwing Anarchists have targeted McDonald's in the past because it symbolises capitalism and money.
"I've been a fireman for 30 years and I've never seen such vandalism," said Gerald Nilson. "Everything was smashed."
The 400 rioters smashed windows, computers, tables and office equipment in nearby banks and shops. They hurled cobblestones at police dispersing the crowd with tear gas. Since the early '80s, regular clashes have broken out in Copenhagen on January 1st."
- Associated Press
"German anti-terrorist police said they suspected anti-nuclear activists were responsible for sabotaging railway lines near Hanover on Monday [12th November], seriously disrupting rail transportation of radioactive waste."
Source - Reuters
In Leiden all travel agencies were bill posted with posters declaring that all flights were cancelled due to the environmental crisis. In Frankfurt, all McDonald's toilets were filled with concrete. In Nijmegen some meat industry trucks were sabotaged to draw attention to increased traffic due to long-distance transport of fodder.
In Bombay families have taken to heaving their TVs out of their windows, burning them or simply hacking them to splinters of glass and plastic.
"Destroying the television is sweeter revenge than jumping channels or just switching off" said Safira Ali Mohammed, one of the first to rebel. "One night I and my husband and my two children went to the bedroom, disconnected the wires and carried our television to the edge of the window. All of us pushed it out of the window together. Since we live on the third floor there was a tremendous crashing sound. We set the trend for throwing out the televisions and many followed!"
In mid-December '94 the government leaders of the European Union countries met in Essen. To counter this an anti-EU summit was organised which was planned to culminate in a mass demonstration. Fearing a repeat of the '91 anti-G7 demonstrations in Bonn, the government banned the demonstration at the last minute. By this time over 1,000 people had arrived in Essen to participate in the counter-summit, which was organised by a broad coalition from the Green Party to autonomen. The Friday before the demo the town was already dominated by an amazing amount of police, who routinely stopped and searched cars on the motorway and in the urban streets, pedestrians and even people in buses and trams.
On the Friday night police stopped in pseudo-military fashion a car from Berlin. The Berliners were forced out of the car at gunpoint and sacks pulled over their heads before being taken to the cells. They were charged with conspiracy to build Molotov Cocktails, because the cops found bottles of mineral water, an oil canister and a toilet roll in the boot of the car.
On the day of the demo 3,000 people ignored the ban and tried to take action in various locations around the city. The police appeared almost immediately at nearly all locations and surrounded the protesters.
Those encircled by the cops were quick-cuffed, put into buses rented from the city bus company and driven to a police school where they were processed: details, fingerprints, photos etc. All together 16 buses brought people to the school, 75 people fitted in each bus. In the evening all those arrested were released. The police announced that they had captured 918 people. This arrest count is a post-war German record.
During the police operation many people were badly beaten up. Eyewitnesses reported that a foreigner was punched and kicked by five policemen who then dragged him along to a wall, he was already unconscious. Here 10 cops carried on attacking him. As is usual in these situations immigrants were picked out for special treatment. Their details were taken and they were bussed out of the city and banished from it for two months.
The explosives genius who has been behind numerous assassinations of leading scientists and industrialists over the last 17 years has written to The New York Times outlining his anarchist beliefs and offering to end his bombing campaign if the newspaper publishes, unedited, a long article by himself on the state of the earth and the need for revolutionary change. The Unabomber, on whom the FBI admits they have no leads after 17 years of investigation, is believed to have sent the device which killed a leading timber industry lobbyist in Sacramento, California, on the 24th of April. He wrote to the newspaper the day before and said his ultimate goal was "the destruction of the world-wide industrial system".
Resistance to the construction of the road through the Vallee D' Aspe in France, (see previous issues of DoD), shows no sign of abating.
Countless incidents of bulldozer diving, site occupations and the like have led the builders to take extreme measures. Once our campaigns become effective the state is forced to 'pull its fist of iron from its velvet glove' - on at least two occasions the machine gun toting Presidential Guards have tear gassed crowds attempting to take over the site. Last August just the threat of an action led the authorities to remove all machinery for fear it might get petrol bombed. Their fear became a reality a few weeks later when eight machines spontaneously combusted. In retaliation the police raided the protest centre, 'La Goutte d'Eau', but no evidence was found to convict any activists. Many British EF!ers have made their way over in the last year and helped to defend this important area from destruction. One Stroud EF! activist came away with a souvenir gas canister which only just missed his head!
Oxford EF! have made a video about the campaign, it lacks coverage of the resistance but gives an overview of the issues behind the campaign. Seeing the mountainous woodlands makes one understand why people are prepared to defend this place to the last.
For more information contact:
La Goutte d'Eau, F-64490, Cette-Eygun, France
Tel: 59 34 78 83
Fax: 59 34 53 18
On July 6th police in Cherpovets, Russia, destroyed a camp set up by eco-activists and @narchists who were fighting against Cherpovets Metallurgic Enterprises, (AO SEVERSTAL). Before obliterating the camp, five activists were arrested. Two received five days in prison while the others were fined 100,000 Roubles (about £30). The camp, composed of Russian and Ukrainian activists, was set up outside the Enterprises' government offices. The Russian radical ecologist group 'Ecodefense!' reports that since the camp's inception, they were constantly harassed by police and security. This year they are planning occupations of gas plants. The presence of Westerners can usually lower the state violence, so if you fancy a change of scenery you know where to go!
$100,000 worth of damage was inflicted on a bulldozer and a loader located at the Dampier State Forest, New South Wales, Australia. Employees of logging contractor Philip Mathie arrived for work 20km into the forest to find a beautiful scene. Holes were speared in the vehicle radiators and fuel lines, electrical wires and hydraulic hoses were cut, and gear levers wrecked. Mud and water had been poured into the engine.
Intensive protest to protect the area's forests began in 1989 and more than 1,000 people were arrested trying to halt the chainsaws in the following two years.
Due to increasing public anger, environmentalists expected this year's logging licenses to have been reduced. In fact they have been INCREASED. 1995 licenses will lead to the export of over 6 million tonnes of woodchips to Japan and the destruction of tropical, subtropical and temperate forest in Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Action camps are being set up to blockade the building of logging roads into pristine areas, the first being at the old growth karri forest known as Sharpe Block in Western Australia. Actions at Embassies etc. would be of great help. Contact:
Native Forest Network Southern Hemisphere Clearinghouse
112 Emu Bay Rd, Deloraine, Tasmania, 7304, Australia
Tel/fax: (003) 62 2713. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On February the 28th activists from Earth First!, Native Forest Network Melbourne, Industrial Workers of the World, and the Barricade Collective occupied for two hours the Mexican Consulate in Melbourne, Australia. The occupation was organised to support the indigenous communities in the Sierra Madres and the Zapatista army in Chiapas.
Activists negotiated exit without arrest after being swamped by cops. In a 15 minute conversation between Anthony Amis from Native Forest Network Melbourne and Ambassador Enrique Buj Flores the Ambassador was told that if the situation in Chiapas and the Sierra Madres worsens, activists in Australia would be further demonstrating at Mexican embassies, consulates and trade organizations. "The Mexican Government will not be pressured by any group," Flores stated. Ha Ha!
Two hundred and fifty Guarani-Kaiowa indigenous people in Jaguapire, Brazil, have threatened to kill themselves in a collective suicide if they are forced once again off their legally recognized territory. Ranchers from the area are waiting for a decision from the state court in an attempt to achieve the final legal expulsion of the indigenous. Marta Silva Vito Guarani of the Kaguateca Association for Displaced Indians said: "The cattle ranchers always win in the courts, while they violate the rights of the Indians on the land. We are like the plants: We cannot live without the earth, without our land. More than 7,000 Indians are working in the coal mines and in the sugar cane processing plants. They are living in slavery. This is the integration that white society offers us. But we are Indians, the original owners of this land, and we cannot accept this humiliating and inhuman situation."
The Guarani have consistently waged battle to defend their lands, but with the indigenous territory halved in the last decade, many have decided to end their lives on this unjust pillaged earth. If the court decision goes the ranchers' way, then the community of Jaguapire have declared that they have "decided to die before abandoning Jaguapire."
Brazilian groups are requesting that we use international pressure to force Judge Rotto to rule in favour of the Guarani. Write to: Exmo. SR., Dr. Pedro Rotto, Tribunal Regional Federal da 3a Regiao, Rua Libera Badaro, no. 39 Centro, 01009-000 Sao Paula, SP, Brazil.
For more info contact:
Amanaka's Amazon Network, 584 Broadway #814, NY, NY 10012, USA (See Love and Rage Jan/Feb '95)
Turkish greens are facing prison sentences of one and a half to three years for an anti-nuclear action in Turkey on November 11th, at which they held banners outside the main electricity board office. Ecological protests are very new for the Turkish officials and as you might know, every opposition is being attacked in Turkey, (See DoD 4, p. 19). The first part of the trial was on February 16th, but nothing was decided. We must show solidarity with our comrades in Turkey.
Further info - Greenpeace