Until the Earth First! Media Center project began, one week before Judi Bari died of cancer two years ago, the only way concerned fellow activists, the public at large, or the media could find out the story from the activists' point of view was to call--and burden--the already over-burdened staff at the Earth First! Journal office. A half dozen people working for $200 a month to put out a wonderful and sizable newspaper every six weeks.
So the EF! Media Center, authorized, though not really activated several years ago at an Earth First! Round River Rendezvous, was actually my commitment to, in times of disaster, contact the victims of anti-enviro violence, and get *their* press releases, *their* interviews and *their* videos out to the movement, the press, and the public, as quickly and widely as possible. And to provide the Journal staff with a place, a group of people, they could pass the burden over to if they chose to do so, in such terrible times.
Almost two months before the bombing of Judi and Darryl, Darryl and Mike Roselle asked me to make the official Redwood Summer video and take it on a national road show. The bombing occurred while I was working on the video with two other video producers. So we were able to include TV coverage of the bombing and smear campaign, and a hospital-bed interview with Judi, in the 22-minute video. I then spent two months, completely at my own expense and with the money that I personally raised at each show, taking the video around the nation, telling the true story of this terrible attack on Judi and Darryl, and on all Earth First! activists actually.
But the first real EF!MC project was begun when Alicia Littletree announced at the 1997 EF! Activist Conference that Judi Bari had only days to live. By this time I had learned a few things about computers and the internet, and realized that a lot of fellow activists would want to know about Judi's grave condition, would want to know how to support Judi and her family, know when she died, and know of any tributes or memorial events. So I began an e-mail community discussion and worked to get the word out as widely as possible. And so, a lot of us went through the tragedy of Judi's death together. At least, it helped *me* feel like I wasn't going through the loss alone.
Then last September, another activist in my community, David Chain, was attacked, and killed, this time by a logger who cut a tree onto him. Weeks later, a tree sitter in the same area, Susan Moloney, had her car attacked and demolished by a mob while she sat helplessly watching from above on her platform.
By this time, I had created an Earth First! Media Center web site with links to as many Earth First! related groups and musicians as I could find, and had realized that a web site was a perfect tool for accomplishing many of the goals for an EF! emergency alert system. The idea behind the name was specifically to create an easy to find beacon in cyberspace so that when people had no idea where to call or who to talk to, if they just did a search of the internet for "Earth First!" they would likely find the site and we would do our best to get these folks the information they sought.
I combined this work with my evolving e-mail lists, and within a month of David's killing, I was hearing back from German animal rights magazines translating the story into German, Russian student journalists into Russian, activists in Kerala India. The Native Forest Network had gotten Nicaraguan activist groups to prepare a statement of solidarity, the Anti-Racist Alliance immediately called and offered tremendous support. They had just had members killed in the Nevada desert by a mob of racists. Ramona Africa called and was incredible. Mumia Abu Jamal called up while we were talking and he sent his statement of support.
The first week of the EF! Media Center web site allowed Julia Butterfly Hill to get in touch with her mother and the rest of her family, it caused the story to break nationally because I was able to put People magazine in touch with Julia.
But then there was Darryl Cherney. Since I didn't have access to my own computer last September, when David was killed, and since the Chain work was becoming overwhelming work to do on another computer, I put out a request for support to my e-mail lists. Bill Graham Presents responded that they had a computer for me. Country Joe and Barry "The Fish" Melton offered to do a pronto benefit gig to raise money for that computer. But for some malicious and bizarre reason, Darryl Cherney would hear nothing of that, and began what is now an eight month campaign of extortion, racketeering, mail tampering, libel and slander against me, which began on Sept. 27 when he attacked me, his employee web master for the Jail Hurwitz web site, with a Lockout. (I had actually been on strike against him for the Jail Hurwitz work for many months, when I found out he had slandered me and killed a grant I had hoped to get.) This was only *ten days* after David Chain was killed. You would think his priorities should have been directed there. But no, Cherney was on another crusade.
After the lockout, he sent a vicious libel letter to Bill Graham Presents, and the computer donation was canceled. He demanded I cancel the Country Joe concert and contacted the local radio station to get them to not air PSA's. He got my internet provider to give him the password to my e-mail account and cut it off from me, stealing access to my e-mail. He called up the local concert promoters who were helping me, and even e-mailed Country Joe to try to talk him out of performing. And this was just the beginning. (Country Joe and the Fish performed a great show and the event went on despite Cherney's attacks.)
In that first week he cost me $2,000, and that is why we have been limping along ever since, for so long now. And now he has won. Despite the movement interest in the enviro-labor coalition that, again in a cruel case of irony, Mikal Jakubal and I initiated with the striking USWA workers, the movement has had no interest in showing me solidarity. Even though Darryl actually had the nerve to seek a scab replacement for me when he was first meeting with the striking Kaiser Aluminum workers he professes to love so much. That void of silence is why I have to write this to you now. I have given the movement 250 days to resolve this in-house, and received no support, zero solidarity from it.
And to top it all off, he has put me through a relentless eight months of severe mental and emotional distress. As my supposed friend of twelve or so years, Darryl knows *exactly* how to trigger severe Post-traumatic stress disorder reaxctions in me, and has crippled me for weeks at a time with his attacks.
So now he has won. The phone will be shut off tomorrow morning. And that is it for EF! Media Center and Climate Action NOW!
If you want to know more about this, drop me a line.
And you might want to ask Darryl Cherney what in the world he is doing with the following items, all bought with movement money, all solely in his control:
The people who rise to positions of power in structureless movements tend to be people of the most power-hungry type because power-hungry people are those who strive hardest to get into positions of power. Once the power-hungry types have captured control of the movement, there are many activists of a gentler breed who inwardly disapprove of many of the actions of the leaders, but cannot bring themselves to oppose them.
They NEED their faith in the movement, and because they cannot give up this faith they go along with the leaders. True, SOME activists do have the guts to oppose the totalitarian tendencies that emerge, but they generally lose, because the power-hungry types are better organized, are more ruthless and Machiavellian and have taken care to build themselves a strong power base. Thus the fact that many individual activists are personally mild and fairly tolerant people by no means prevents the structureless movement as a whole from having a totalitarian tendency.
========================================================== END EF!MC and CAN!
We're trying to remove the obstacles to your involvement.
Earth First! Media Center
Andy Caffrey, director
WE NEED YOUR HELP RIGHT NOW June 16, 1999
We have just been shut down today by lack of funds.
We could do so much more with your help. Forest activists are now being bombed, murdered, and assassinated without any outrage expressed in the media! We have just discovered that the violent "Wise Use" movement is now tracking every one of our postings. Your involvement would be an invaluable aid to our ability to maintain vigilance.
Why not show this material to your friends? Just print it out and make some photocopies to help get the word out and to help us raise operating funds. Even more helpful material is available at our web site. Our postings about David Chain's killing have now gone out to over a million people on five continents and been translated into French, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish and Russian. Portugese is next!
We have just gone through a tormenting last eight months and are *still* flat broke with broken down gear, scant supplies, and late bills to cover. If we are to continue on we need money and certain supplies such as Epson 740 ink cartridges (B&W; and Color*), zip disks, videotape, postage, file cabinets and subscriptions to periodicals. And we could really use a scanner for our iMac so we could make photographs available to you. Please send contributions payable to "Earth First!" to
Earth First! Media Center
P.O. Box 324
Redway, CA 95560
* We really need a color ink cartridge right now. Our printer has been unworkable for the lack of one, for six weeks now. So no printer until we get color ink.
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