A Lesson from Twyford Down.
After over a year of Earth First! activity in this country, it is time to reassess the situation and ask fundamental questions about the way groups run themselves. Looking through the British EF! contact list one thing stands out: EF! groups seem to exist mainly in urban areas.
There are obvious reasons for this - there are more people in cities and many EF!ers are students or ex-students. This pattern is reflected in all radical groups. However, is this pattern healthy, and if not, are there any alternatives?
Reviewing EF! actions on this isle, the most effective campaign has undoubtedly been Twyford Down. The first action happened in February of last year, and there have been hundreds of actions since. A campaign that has been so successful that Tarmac construction spends just under a quarter of a million a week on security to combat it, and the DoT employs a private detective firm to find out who activists are.
What I ask you, is what has been the reason for this success? The answer is that since April last year the resistance at Twyford Down has had a physical and spiritual focus - a community! Since the end of this February, Camelot EF! Has managed to have an action nearly every day. This is because of empowerment, connection with the Earth, and community.
99% of Earth First!ers are ill; not half as ill as Sun readers, but nevertheless ill. We walk around with this beautiful dream of Wilderness and small happy communities emblazoned in our hearts, but we walk on concrete, and go to sleep in a house where at best we live with 2 or 3 friends - if that. The group comes together in some room above a pub once a month, and the only life we see is the occasional park or piece of wasteland. For Christ’s sake, we can’t even see the stars because of the horrible yellow glow given out by thousands of street lights.
There is no point in us fighting to help the Earth survive if we ourselves make ourselves unhealthy, if we are stressed out, exhausted and feeling spiritually low. I put it to you that if the movement is to really be effective, we must be strong and after an action be able to return to the camp fire and sing and drum and smile and cry - not be surrounded by concrete madness, the antithesis of everything we believe in.
Moving into the country is easier than you think, all you need is say 8 or so friends, some tarps to make benders with, and a peep at the land register to find land with ‘Ownership unknown’. You will of course need new skills (like lighting a fire and building benders) - but you can always learn these skills at the Winchester Institute of Outdoor Living - a.k.a. Camelot Earth First! Get yourself sacked from your job, money is no problem, the state pays for people to be eco-activists – it’s called the dole. You will be surprised at how little it costs to actually live communally - a tenner a week at most. You can spend the rest on campaigning. If you think you need access to a computer, you can always stick a microchip nightmare in a van, and fix it up to a generator or wind turbine (Generators are freely available from all road building sites around the country).
Let us live on the edge of the town, ‘commute’ to our office occupations (!) and our Carmaggedon actions, let us sabotage the city rather than let the city sabotage us. Let’s live wild, take back the hill forts, and Visualise Industrial Collapse.