Earth Liberation Front 1997-2002 (2003. Second printing with new dedication and layout 2007. Portland, OR)
Leslie James Pickering grew up in Buffalo, NY. In the mid 90s he became involved in the local hardcore music scene. While attending shows in the surrounding area, he began reading the literature distributed there by local animal rights groups. Zines such as Holocaust (published by Animal Defense League founder Kris Qua) were his introduction to radical politics and support for underground direct action.
Like most kids who grow up in smaller cities, Leslie James left Buffalo as soon as he had the means. After a brief stint skateboarding in San Francisco (during which time he filmed for the underground skate video rarity “Heat Zone”) Pickering landed in Portland, OR. There, he met Craig Rosebraugh, and after a few years the two of them began publishing a newspaper called Resistance with other members of a group called Liberation Collective. At this same time, a group calling themselves the Earth Liberation Front began a series of arson attacks against companies involved in logging and other environmentally harmful practices. They sent their first media statement to Liberation Collective, and the rest of the story is what Pickering documents in Earth Liberation Front 97-02.
Consisting of reprints, interviews, and some original material, Earth Liberation Front 97-02 is a must read for those who wish to understand the beginnings of the Green Scare.
Grand Juries: Tools of Political Repression. (1998, Portland. OR)
The United States government, like all repressive states, will not stand for any challenge to their authority. Abroad, they maintain their power with a diverse selection of tactics that range from the killing of journalists, to drone assassinations. Here at home their methods are also broad, but to maintain the illusion of democracy they usually only resort to murder as a last option. (And they do resort to murder. From Fred Hampton to Judi Bari, the FBI has repeatedly proved their willingness to take lives.) So, how does the state keep social control while still pretending to welcome dissent? First and foremost, dissent is only allowed so long as it is impotent to create change. Hold your signs, cast your ballots, and say whatever you like- so long as it doesn’t threaten the ruling class. Once you step past that boundary the gloves come off as fast as the illusion of constitutional protections.
Right now there are several secretive grand juries running in the United States. They are investigating (and attempting to disrupt) animal liberation and anarchist communities under the guise of solving crimes. This is not a new phenomenon, throughout the history of this country these shadowy tribunals have been used to great effect to slow revolutionary movements. The use of grand juries against environmentalists and radical vegans became especially epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s, most notably with the frequent subpoenaing of people doing purely legal support work for underground direct action groups. One activist in particular, Craig Rosebraugh, was subpoenaed a total of eight times to various grand juries.
After his first few subpoenas, Craig wrote the essay Grand Juries: Tools of Political Repression. Originally intended for a university class, the essay was eventually reprinted in pamphlet format by Liberation Collective. The tone of the publication is a little heavy handed, academic, and politically naive, but the information contained inside is crucial for those wanting an overview of grand juries.
After you read this publication, we would like to encourage you to show solidarity with activists imprisoned for refusing to comply with grand juries. A good first step is to write them a letter. All three people listed below are being held without ever having been convicted of a crime, and all are being kept in solitary confinement. A letter of support from a stranger will go a long way towards brightening their day- so break out your pens and paper!
Katherine Olejnik #42592-086
P.O. Box 13900
Seattle, WA 98198
Matthew Kyle Duran #42565-086
P.O. Box 13900
Seattle, WA 98198
Matthew Pfeiffer #42421-086
P.O. Box 13900
Seattle, WA 98198
Resistance Volume 1 #1-4, Volume 2 #1 (1999-2001. Portland, OR. USA)
Before Portland became famous for its eccentricities and vegan mini-malls, it used to be known as one of the west coast’s most active centers for direct action oriented environmental, animal, and human rights activism. Famously referred to as “little Beirut,” by the George H.W. Bush administration, Portland was the home of peace-punk bands, eco-saboteurs, and anti-government riots. Then, strangely enough, it became a hotbed of pacifism in the mid-90s thanks to the efforts of… wait for it… Craig Rosebraugh.
Craig eventually became known internationally for his support of political violence and ecotage, but for a few years he was an advocate of Gandhian nonviolence. After participating in several voluntary arrest actions, he co-founded the group Liberation Collective in 1996 as a blanket organization meant to tackle a wide variety of social ills. The group was a springboard for many well known activists, and planned a number of media spectacles across the United States, from Buy Nothing Day car smash-em-ups in busy downtown streets to the cross country Primate Freedom Tour. (The PFT was credited in large part to a group called Coalition to End Primate Experiments, but the greater part of the organizing was done by LibCo members.)
After the failure of attempts such as One Struggle to document a broad movement for ecological sanity and justice for all life, Liberation Collective took up the torch and released the first issue of Resistance. The inaugural issue was unlike any other in the series though. The main forces behind the publication, Craig and Leslie James Pickering, had politics that were no longer meshing well with the rest of the group. Liberation Collective was falling apart due to a number of factors, and ultimately LJ and Craig struck out on their own, founding the North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office and continuing the Resistance project as a newsletter of their new organization.
The third issue of Resistance launched what was to become the best source of information for a rapidly expanding underground movement. The Earth Liberation Front was becoming active across the United States, but supportive coverage could be difficult to find. Even the Earth First! Journal wasn’t always willing to support the large scale arson attacks of the ELF, and when they did they lost membership. (Famously, Julia Butterfly left Earth First! after the Journal gave positive coverage to the Vail arson.) Resistance, however, published nearly every ELF communique unedited, and covered the multiple federal investigations into the groups actions. Activists seeking a better knowledge of the events leading to the green scare and “Operation Backfire” arrests would do well to start by reading the early volumes of Resistance.