I stumbled upon this article, talking about the concept of eco-terrorism, in relation to last week's firebombing of some schmancy McMansions in Washington state. Now, setting aside my own distaste for gigantic houses with as much character as the soulless blue-shadowed plastic eyes of Malibu Barbie...I was intrigued by the central idea of the article. Are people who go out of their way to avoid hurting living beings (including, but not limited to, people) while inflicting physical damage to people's property....are they really terrorists?
Especially considering that applying that label comes with specific consequences (thanks to our awesome government and its lovely habits of detaining "terrorists" and suspending things like, oh, habaeus corpus and the Geneva Convention...), I think it's a really big deal that people who explicitly outline their intentions to avoid hurting people or other animals are being called terrorists and treated accordingly. (Also, I am a little tired of every damn thing being called "the greatest threat to homeland security since Islamic terrorism" - seriously, that phrase and its variants have been used to paint everything from war protesters to fat people to the recession to port security to health care costs....it's getting a little old; attention: lapdog media.) I think this trend is a slippery slope, especially for edgy folk who speak their minds right in the face of those who benefit from the current slant of American culture (and Western culture in general). Not to be all conspiracy theorist, but it's not *that* far a leap from people who torch greenwashed eco-unfriendly mini-palaces, to people who block traffic in protests or chant outside GMO conventions or blockade G8 meeting sites. What about guerrilla gardeners, who encroach on property rights by filling open space with plants? Or creative graffiti artists, "defacing" public or private property to send a message?
This issue also brings up an idea I've often encountered - that the word "activism" only applies to marching in the streets or picketing or throwing red paint on people who wear fur. Activism, for me, encompasses all that stuff....but also things like talking to people around you about the everyday steps you're taking to green your lifestyle, or picking up litter when you see it, or writing letters to your governmental representatives about legislation you like or don't, or encouraging the people around you to vote. I think the "extreme" kinds of activism (the kind that involve not only breaking the law, but also costing someone else time or money - like graffiti or arson or theft) are sometimes needed. I think other kinds of activism are just as vital, though, and a lot of folks avoid taking any action because they think only "big" action matters. Big stuff is great, but it's the little everyday stuff that I believe has a stronger cumulative effect. Which, in the case of climate change, is what's really necessary to, you know, save the planet.
Take, for example, this story about some New Englanders fighting for their right to air dry their laundry. Seems kinda silly on the face of it (legislation protecting clothesline rights? what?), but a huge slam against homeowners/condo associations and their need for cookie-cutter faux neighborhoods, at the cost of potentially huge energy savings. What's more important: not looking poor (next thing you know, someone will make a tour!), or, I dunno, saving the planet?
I guess my point is that activism doesn't mean you need to get yourself a pee can for your platform in a Redwood or stash bail money with your defense lawyer; there are some really simple ways you can change your perspective and your life and the world without tossing a Molotov cocktail at a McMansion. (Also, that link totally makes me want to live in the Twin Cities!!)
Though if that's your thing, I can't say I don't respect that on some level, too. And I surely don't consider it terrorism.
Loud-mouthed liberal feminist. Anarchist knitter. Tequila-drinking artsy-smartsy fat chick. Bluesy folk-rock singer-songwriter. Rebel with too many causes. Quirky eclectic pagan poet. Paradoxical intuitive smartass. Sarcastic brainiac insomniac. You know, for starters.