Demanding the Impossible: Saying “No Compromise” in the Climate Movement, And Meaning It
Scott Parkin, Counterpunch, 1/6/2016
“The earth is not dying, it is being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.”
— Utah Phillips
In the summer of 2003, my friends and I launched a campaign called Dirty South Earth First! (DSEF!) that targeted the executives of financial holding company MAXXAM in their ostensibly safe gated communities in suburban Houston. MAXXAM was the parent company of Pacific Lumber (PALCO) which spent decades logging the majestic Redwoods of Northern California.
MAXXAM’s CEO Charles Hurwitz bought PALCO and escalated the logging of Northern California for higher profit and the need to pay off the debt from the acquisition. Hurwitiz had a history of financial misdeeds including the raiding of worker pensions from other companies he’d bought and crashing a Savings and Loans costing U.S. tax-payers $1.6 billion during the financial crisis of the late 1980s.
Forest defenders in Northern California fought long and hard at the point of destruction in the lush forests of Northern California with tree-sits and road blockades. These fights against MAXXAM and Pacific Lumber had a long and sorted history. They included “Redwood Summer,” a mass direct action campaign organized by Judy Bari, which led to a pipe bomb being planted in Bari’s car in 1990, the death of forest defender David “Gypsy” Chain, who died when a tree was felled on him by loggers in 1998 and a yearlong tree-sit by celebrity Julia Butterfly Hill in 1999.