I forget which streaming video service I was on, but I got recommended the movie "If a Tree Falls: A story of the Earth Liberation Front," I guess based on the other documentaries I watch. Recommender systems are interesting because I don't actually watch many political documentaries. As political as I am, when I watch non-fiction, it isn't politics - it isn't politics because I need a break.
This movie was an interesting find. I've known about the ELF for.. I don't know, awhile, for.. well, since I got to Eugene in 1998. At the time I knew that the ELF was a group of really hardcore activists.. I mean, I was hard core, but the ELF, they were hardcore, badass activists. When we'd have protests in Eugene we'd have a group of peacekeepers because of "the anarchists." "The anarchists" who might cause trouble with the cops, which we, less badass, activists didn't want.
I remember going into the Shamrock house once, or twice. The Shamrock house in the Whit ( Whiteaker - a neighborhood in west Eugene known for a large number of hippies, outsiders, counter-culturists, drug users, poor people, and for being the home of the current wonderful amazing blessed mayor) was a hub for "the anarchists" of Eugene. I remember hearing about how patriarchial that particular group of activists was, how sexist the men could be.
I remember being afraid of them when I heard about the Black Block. Not only was their name frightening, but destruction of property the way they did it, and more, the way they dressed, scared me. Even though I knew they were like me, the way they dressed costumed them in a way that I couldn't see the hippie, hard core, really incredibly dedicated activists beneath the black and the face coverings.
So, the movie. These things I remember hearing about. I remember hearing about how there was a break among "the anarchists" between those who wanted to hurt people and those who wanted to continue the work that I supported - destruction of property without the destruction of life. I remember picturing the meeting in my head happening up in the Grower's market, a place I once had an office, a place where the hardcore's all have offices. I remember being scared when I heard about the division.
I wasn't scared about what those who wanted to hurt human life would do, I was scared because it felt like a threat to the work I was working on doing as a pacifist. I was scared because I believe, and still believe, that destruction of life in the name of any sort of social and political change, is wrong. I have to admit to being scared also because I was afraid that they'd, "the anarchists who wanted to kill people" would show up at rallies I was helping to organize, and I wasn't sure how they'd disrupt it.
It wasn't until I saw this movie "If a Tree Falls" that I learned that what I was aware of, who was hanging out in the Shamrock house, was the ELF. I have to admit the movie made me homesick. It also reminded me how radical my beliefs once were, and how, if I simply watch a movie, they still are.
I'm angry about a lot of things. I'm angry about the new citizenship laws to obtain a driver's license. I'm angry that the City of Eugene is giving Occupy Eugene permission to camp, permission to take care of the people the city normally takes care of. I'm angry that after 15 December, if the City of Eugene doesn't continue their permission that they may send the cops in to do what the City of Eugene has been known to do - to hurt, to be violent, to be so concerned about the rules and regulations that they deny a group of people a home, and another group of people a right to organize and protest.
I'm also angry, and the movie reminded me, that we call people who burn SUV's and buildings in the name of saving the environment terrorists, but they don't call it terrorism when a woman is raped, or even when she walks down the street super aware that she may be raped.
In the movie one of the lumber company owners who was attacked by the ELF made some comment about how, after his company was attacked, he didn't know if they'd come after him at his house, or come after his family. I understand the fear, but looking at the previous actions of the group could not lead to any conclusion that they would attack him personally or his home.
Now, if we look at simple statistics, or we talk to most any woman about safety, you'll see how society has built the acceptance of terror into our culture. This white man in Oregon was afraid, this white man in Oregon now knew what it was like to be most women in this country (and around the world?).
This movie reminded me of my roots. It made me homesick. It gave me a light into things that were happening just a few blocks from my house that I only had an inkling of. It also reminded me that I've forgotten to continue the conversation about what terrorism really is. It's not activists burning buildings and SUV's and not harming a soul. Terrorism is about harming people, a group of which is women, being taught to be afraid, being afraid, being attacked, being raped, being terrorized simply because we are women.
Causes Brooke Robertshaw Supports
Justice for the Palestinian People
Understanding White Privilege.
Lots of other peace and justicy things.