Just before I entered sixth grade, I was terrified that the older middle-schoolers would give me a swirlie — holding me headfirst in the toilet so that my hair assumed the shape of the bowl. I was relieved to discover that the middle-schoolers at my school, at least, weren’t as twisted as they were made out to be by my fifth-grade peers. Turns out, some republican activists in South Carolina are borrowing tricks from my middle school of myth.
Archive for October 15th, 2009
Somehow I thought I’d have better internet access this week than last week, but I’m stuck in the hinterland of Michigan at my 89 year-old grandmother’s house with very little access. Apologies to anyone who is plugging in periodically. I’m not even able to keep up with the news myself.
Here’s an interview with Environmental activist Mike Roselle in Time Magazine. I sat around a campfire with Roselle about twelve years ago, rehashing some of his tales from the early days of Greenpeace. As should be clear from this interview, he’s a pretty radical dude, he’s taken some pretty aggressive actions, and as a result of this, his stories are truly fascinating. I don’t think I said anything the whole night.
Among the courses that I teach regularly, one of my favorite is an upper division course on property and protest. The course is ultimately geared to address conceptual concerns that strike me as more centrally at the heart of environmental issues than those that generally frame the debate: namely, nature and wilderness. Instead, I look directly at what is moving the issue: property and protest. We address a range of theories about the origin and legitimacy of property rights and then ask questions about the extent to which property rights fall into place against other concerns, like human rights and environmental policy. We also look at various activist strategies, including symbolic protest, nonviolent civil disobedience, monkey wrenching, property destruction, and sabotage. As far as readings, the course starts with history from the Sagebrush Rebellion and the Wise Use Movement, and then moves back through the history of property rights, past some of the legislative ‘takings’ cases, and up through the tactics of Earth First! It’s a great class, if I do say so myself.
I may be picking up this book to add to my syllabus. Any feedback or thoughts on Roselle’s tales would be much appreciated. Also, if anyone has suggestions for readings from the Wise Use movement, particularly regarding actions and events that have shaped reactions to the environmental crowd, I’d be interested to hear those as well.