Thousands of students converging in Washington, D.C. this weekend have already “gone green.” Now they are going “eco-terrorist.”
That’s absurd, right? No one in their right mind would call the 10,000 young people participating in the Power Shift conference and mass non-violent civil disobedience against a coal-powered plant“eco-terrorists.”
But corporations and the politicians who represent them have been trying to label tactics like this as “terrorism” for years as part of the “Green Scare.” That includes a wide range of activity from tree sits and road blockades to vandalism and, at the most extreme, arson. No human being has ever been injured by environmental activists, but the FBI has gone so far as to label them the “number one domestic terrorist threat.”
The conference and civil disobedience planned this weekend are a great example of how this scare-mongering is completely out of touch with the beliefs of everyday people, and how tactics once labeled “terrorism” are gaining widespread popular support.
The “eco-terrorists” are in good company:
- Al Gore told Nicholas Kristof at The New York Times: “I can’t understand why there aren’t rings of young people blocking bulldozers, and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power plants.”
- NASA’s chief climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, has endorsed the “eco-terrorism,” saying: “We need to send a message to Congress and the president that we want them to take the actions that are needed to preserve climate for young people and future generations and all life on the planet.”
- Public figures including Wendell Barry and Daryl Hannah, and many mainstream environmental groups, have endorsed the direct action.
Via Twitter and Facebook, I asked what you all wanted to hear more about on this site in the next few weeks. I heard back, loud and clear, that you want stories like the recent arrests of activists under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, but it’s draining to see so much bad news all the time. I think this conference and direct action are a perfect example of how the Green Scare isn’t hopeless, and it’s not inevitable. It’s clear that if everyday people knew what’s going on, they’d be outraged.
There is plenty of work to be done, raising awareness and organizing, but it is work that can have substantial results.
So, I’ll turn this over to you: What are you doing? And what needs to be done? Write a comment about what you’re doing in your community, whether it is organizing public forums, posting fliers, creating websites, holding potlucks, organizing protests, or something else entirely. I’ll compile it for a future post on fighting back against the Green Scare.