LETTUCE TO THE CABBAGE

“The ruler of this world will be cast out.” (John 12:31;) and “The one called Devil and Satan ... is misleading the entire inhabited earth” (Revelations 12:9). love from

A strange old man with a beard.

P.S. Please stop worshipping me, the real God is all around you, stop raping it!

Dear Cabbage,

After recent events at the ICI plant on Merseyside, it would seem an appropriate time for Earth First! to reappraise the way it goes about planning and carrying out its actions. It is a danger that if the situation does not improve it is possible we may lose credibility with both the press and the general public. Although EF! for many represents an emotional response to environmental issues and reflects the need of individuals to take personal action we can no longer just charge in full of righteousness, secure in the knowledge that we hold the moral high around.

 

Before an action takes place it is surely necessary to ask a number of questions such as: has this been done before? Is the target appropriate? Is the action relevant right now? How does this fit in with what EF! and other groups are doing? How will this action affect the target and how will it help to change matters?

Having considered all this and decided that the action (in whatever form) is necessary and relevant, the issues need to be thoroughly researched so that all the activists taking part are fully briefed and prepared. To this end we should consider approaching other groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of-the Earth who have vast resources of accessible information both from campaigners and technical reports. It would also be worthwhile to find cut if any groups are campaigning on a local level who may be able to assist, or whom the action may affect.

If some of the above points had been taken into account for the action at ICI, the result may have been somewhat different especially in light of the successful occupation of the plant by Greenpeace some time ago. My point is not to denigrate the organisers of the ICI action but. to raise some points which need to be considered if we are to campaign more effectively.

The comparison between the Timbmet (Oxford) action last year and the recent ICI action bears out my point. It is vitally important that EF! develops as a movement and that its campaigning activities help to highlight and prevent environmental destruction whilst offering a radical alternative to other mainstream groups. We do hold the moral high ground, but let’s not spoil it with enthusiastic but ill-conceived actions.

Rainbow

Dear Cabbage,

The Feb. action at ICI’s CFC-producing plant in Runcorn resulted in some friction later in the day between the lorry drivers and the people blockading one of the gates. Some drivers were losing money and many would not see their families because of us.

We discussed the situation and by liaising with the demonstrators at the other entrances it was decided by consensus to call off the blockade as a gesture of goodwill to the workers. We left en masse at a specific time and so also avoided a decaying demonstration. The discussion and feedback after this action really helped, not solely for group bonding. In this case we questioned exactly how much disruption we had caused ICI, and it seemed to some that we had perhaps hardly touched the management or production process. The London head office or management buildings were felt more appropriate to focus on, and more sensitive considering that thousands of job losses had been announced on the day of the action. We could have liaised more with the local community too.

I think we should work as much as possible with the workers. For this we need careful research and planning, and an awareness of exactly whom we may be harming. Constant questioning and re-assessment of our tactics, actions and personal politics are so important if we are to maximise our effectiveness. When we learn from our mistakes, the movement can grow. - Mark Lester.

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