I get love letters. I get death threats. Out here on Coast Salish territory — Vancouver Island, British Columbia — timber barons and developers are rushing to carve up the last of the Wild West frontier. Cold cash and brute force have always worked to subdue the land and anyone in their way … until now. The bullies have met their match! It’s a fascinating time for environmental activists on Canada’s west coast.
Some of you may know this guy — he’s been demanding a “debate” with a third-party “judge” or he will do something horrible and sinister to “take me down.”
OK then – it’s on.
First, a little wingnut history: I was harassed by this dude and his buddies after I called them out as racists. (They invited a neo-Nazi defender to speak at a rally in October 2012.) Dude got aggro with me in public, and I took pictures of him trying to intimidate me and published them.
That really set him off. He threatened to sue me, have me arrested, and worse. I know, NUTTY!
Anyway, the situation escalated to the point where I filed a civil suit in BC Supreme Court on November 22. My lawyers are really great, and they detest white supremacist jerks too. We can serve the notice any time in the next 12 months, and the case will go from there.
The good news is people in the community got together about this dude and his buddies and said “Enough.” I’m not the only one this guy’s targeted – he has a police file for harassment, plus a blog full of hate for Victoria activists and a couple other jerks backing him up.
So the stage is set, and the court hearings should be loaded with wingnuttiness of the highest order. I’ll be documenting the proceedings and publishing the highlights for everyone’s amusement. Stay tuned for updates!
Folks who contribute to the legal fund will receive a commemorative copy of the judgement (along with my comedic commentary) as a souvenir.
Please send your support to: Tracie Park (that’s my legal name), care of Catherine Boies Parker, Underhill Boies Parker Law, 1127 Fort St, Victoria BC V8V 3K9.
Thank you for bearing witness to this moment in wingnut legal history!
Confidential to the defendant’s buddies: STOP GIVING HIM BAD LEGAL ADVICE. He needs to either get a lawyer, or call mine to talk terms of settlement. The laws in BC are different than Ontario, you know! And Sovereign Wingnut Law is not a real thing.
What can you do with obnoxious racists? Reason doesn’t work, and even baseball bats can’t knock sense into a bonehead. But we can expose and mock them.
In October 2012, members of the conspiracy cult and Occupy splinter group WeAreCrazyVictoria.org invited lawyer and white supremacist Doug Christie to speak at a rally at the BC Legislature in Victoria BC.
No way. That’s not okay. I’d never met any of these nutbars, but it was clear we needed to call a counterprotest.
Friends and allies helpfully contacted all the other speakers to inform them they were sharing a stage with Canada’s best-known racist. Most had no idea Christie was coming. Five speakers – including the keynote – immediately canceled. In a panic, the organizers dropped Christie from the event – and then blamed me for “censoring” him. They scrambled to cast themselves as advocates for “free speech” while vilifying me for infringing Christie’s “rights.” Among other threats, organizers said they would sue me for criticizing WeAreCrazyVictoria, and have me arrested if I showed up for the counterprotest.
That didn’t happen, but it was a hilarious day nonetheless.
Half an hour before the haters’ rally was set to begin, we set up a couple signs at the Cenotaph on the corner of the Legislature lawn, 200 meters from the wingnuts’ stage, and handed out leaflets explaining we were counterprotesting against racism, bullying, and hate speech.
Just before noon, the “free speech advocates” came over to shut us down. Ha! Fat chance.
Photo by Zoe Blunt
Left: Certifiable lunatic and white supremacist Ryan Elson (alias John Pettitt, StealthC, XtoFury, Fixx_Revolution). Centre: Conspiracy freak and amateur astrologist Philip Livingston (aka Adam Evan Livingston), allegedly a fourth-year psych student at UVic. Right: Slimeball creep “Henry Tudor,” who is dumb as a sack of poop.
Photo by Zoe Blunt
They came straight for me, ignoring the rest of the group. Elson got right up in my face screaming abuse. That’s when I got out the megaphone. Elson was trying to get nose-to-nose with me, but with the bullhorn deployed, he got a face full of “Back off racist scum” with the volume cranked to 11.
Naturally, this tough guy was more interested in picking on me (I’m 5 feet and 110 pounds) than the linebacker-sized ex-bouncers standing around me with the signs. Any one of them could pick Elson up with one hand and break him like a twig, and they were ready in case he laid a hand on any of us. (He didn’t.)
The “back off racist scum” commotion drew two police officers from their post at the Legislature Building. As they approached, Elson pointed and hollered: “Officer, take away her megaphone! She doesn’t have a permit to be here!” The cops said, “Step over here son, we’re gonna explain something to you.” Here’s the little bully, getting TOLD.
Photo by Zoe Blunt
The nutjobs had no choice but to slink back to their “rally,” which consisted of fewer than a dozen people on the Legislature steps. We serenaded them with rousing chants of “Hey hey, ho ho, racists have got to go!” and handed out hundreds of flyers. The wackjobs got schooled. It was a fine day.
Photo by Zoe Blunt
But it’s not over yet – the haters are setting themselves on fire in a desperate grab for attention. In a long, incoherent blog post bubbling with paranoid hysteria, Elson proclaims he’s a “victim” of homophobia and accuses me of somehow outing him as gay, which is news to everyone but his boyfriends, apparently. So now Elson is Canada’s version of the gay conservative who beat himself up. Except that Elson claims he was in the closet before he announced that he’s gay and that makes it all my fault, or something.
Well played, haters! Looking forward to next time.
—– UPDATE November 1 —–
It seems I have hurt the racists’ feelings. So they are calling me a terrorist and howling for my arrest on charges of “criminal defamation.” Funny! I thought they were opposed to censorship. Anyway — bring it, boys. The publicity would be worth the price of admission.
I mentioned that these wingnuts are setting themselves on fire. Here’s an example: According to Elson, this video is irrefutable proof that PAOV (People’s Assembly of Victoria) and I secretly control Facebook. The video was recorded at an October 2012 meeting of WeAreCrazy, and we get to eavesdrop as Josh Steffler and other members discuss things like dealing with the “Zionist-controlled world government” and being called “Holocaust deniers.” Which they certainly are NOT, because you can’t deny something that never happened, amirite?
While you’re at it, check out this video (also from October 2012) of Elson trying to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission about an imaginary future “genocide against white people.”
And take a look at this image Elson posted on the Occupy Victoria B.C. page on Facebook around the same time. It’s a swastika with a photo of Hitler and the text “Last time it was the JEWS, this time it’s white men.”
Of course, just a couple weeks ago, WeAreCrazyVictoria was proud to feature Doug Christie on its website — until they realized their racism was showing, and purged him. What a shame! Especially since they were so pleased with themselves for inviting him to speak as a surprise guest at their rally last year. So why be ashamed of “white pride” now?
But wait, there’s more. Josh Steffler has made his own video to show us he and WAC are not really racist at all. That’s because there are no “races,” there is ONLY ONE RACE. So that makes us the real racists, because we keep talking about race and racism. DUH. (Bonus: BOLSHEVIKS!)
It’s easy to mock their ignorance, but these idiots are trying to recruit new members and launch new assaults on our friends, fellow activists and “the left” in general.
I first heard about Deep Green Resistance in the middle of a grassroots fight to stop a huge vacation-home subdivision at a wilderness park on Vancouver Island. Back then, it hadn’t really occurred to me that a book on environmental strategy was needed. Now I can tell you, it’s urgent.
Deep Green Resistance (DGR) made me a better strategist. If you’re an activist, then this book is for you. But be warned: at 520 pages (plus endnotes), it’s not light reading. Quite the opposite — DGR dares environmental groups to focus on decisive tactics rather than mindless lobbying and silly stunts.
“This book is about fighting back. And this book is about winning,” author Derrick Jensen declares in the preface to this three-way collaboration with Lierre Keith and Aric McBay.
Keith, author of The Vegetarian Myth, opens the discussion with an analysis of why “traditional” environmental action is self-defeating. For those who’ve read Jensen’s Endgame, or who have experienced the frustration of born-to-lose activism, Keith’s analysis hits the nerve.
The DGR philosophy was born from failure. In a recent interview, Jensen recounts a 2007 conversation with fellow activists who asked, “Why is it that we’re doing so much activism, and the world is being killed at an increasing rate?” “This suggests our work is a failure,” Jensen concludes. “The only measure of success is the health of the planet.”
If we keep to this course, as Keith points out, the outcome is extinction: the death of species, of people, and the planet itself. Environmental “solutions” are by now predictable, and totally out of scale with the threat we’re facing. Cloth bags, eco-branded travel mugs, hemp shirts, and recycled flip-flops won’t change the world. Wishful thinking aside, they can’t, because they don’t challenge the industrial machine. It just keeps grinding out tons of waste for every human on the earth, whether they are vegan hempsters who eat local or not. So these “solutions” amount to fiddling while the world burns.
Aric McBay, organic farmer and co-author of What We Leave Behind, says Deep Green Resistance “is about making the environmental movement effective.”
“Up to this point, you know, environmental movements have relied mostly on things like petitions, lobbying, and letter-writing,” McBay says. “That hasn’t worked. That hasn’t stopped the destruction of the planet, that hasn’t stopped the destruction of our future. So the point is if we want to be effective, we have to look at what other social movements, what other resistance movements have done in the past.”
Keith notes that a given tactic can be reformist or radical, depending on how it’s used. For example, we don’t often think of legal strategies as radical, but if it’s a mass campaign with an “or else” component that empowers people and brings a decisive outcome, then it creates fundamental change.
“Don’t be afraid to be radical,” Keith advises in a recent interview. “It’s emotional, yes; this is difficult for people, but we are going to have to name these power structures and fight them. The first step is naming them, then we’ve got to figure out what their weak points are, and then organize where they are weak and we are strong.”
Powerful words. But by then I was desperate for a blueprint, a guidebook, some signposts to help break the deadlock in our campaign to save the park. Two hundred pages into DGR, we get down to brass tacks, and find out what strategic resistance looks like.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t a guerrilla uprising.
Action Alert: Island Timberlands is preparing to log the forests of Cortes Island, near Campbell River.
Michael Tippett notes that most folks don’t realize Cortes Island is a “birthplace of the green movement,” a cradle for Greenpeace in its early days, and home to the influential eco-wellness institute Hollyhock. And Island Timberlands is owned by a Wall Street investment firm.
This fight is shaping up to be iconic.
Island residents have repelled invaders before, but this time it looks serious. For decades, corporations have labeled the forests on Cortes Island “socially inoperable” because of local opposition. Now they’re ramping up the pressure to get the timber out.
Cortes is home to sensitive wetlands, rare species and wild animals, who, through no fault of their own, live on private forestland. That land is now owned by Island Timberlands, which in turn is owned by Brookfield Asset Management, a Wall Street investment company.
In 2011, the good people of Cortes Island hosted a weekend workshop to get together and strategize. It was announced weeks in advance in the island newsletter. That’s how Island Timberlands got wind of it. The company quickly set up a public relations schmooze-fest to try and preempt this community gathering.
But things didn’t go quite as planned.
Island Timberlands office, 65 Front Street, Nanaimo. Photo: Google
When the corporate managers arrived by ferry, a sixty-person “welcoming committee” greeted them at the dock with a noise parade, improvised instruments, and lot of “cheering.” The poor schmuck I.T. sent was so undone by this display of free expression that he called the RCMP, who arrived shortly after. (There were no charges, except to the taxpayer, and the RCMP soon departed.)
The schmuck in question is operations dude Wayne French from Nanaimo, who, it turns out, is completely unprepared for the “public relations” part of the job.
Saturday morning’s walk and talk was set up as a casual getting-to-know-you thing. We met on a dirt road, an easement into I.T.’s private forests. The temperature was mild, the atmosphere was relaxed, and the residents were chatting and joking. Except poor Wayne, who seemed a little tense.
Twenty of us were standing around talking when Wayne freaked out. “You can’t film here!” he barked at a young man with a camera. Everyone turned to look.
“There are people who can’t be here today, seniors and disabled people, and I’m filming it for them,” the young man said. He looked Wayne right in the eye and held the camera steady.
Wayne got louder. “This is private land and I’m telling you, you can’t do that here,” he hollered.
“But you invited the public,” someone piped up. “Yep, public events can be filmed,” agreed another.
The younger man kept the camera’s glass eye aimed at Wayne. “I’m making a record for the people who can’t be here.”
Wayne got red in the face and he gestured violently. “Turn that off, I’m telling you!” The islander didn’t move.
Wayne wound up for another blast, stomping and flailing, and he accidentally set off the alarm on his truck. Two dogs were locked inside, and they started barking and howling and jumping at the windows. Wayne couldn’t shut off the alarm. He aimed the key fob like a TV remote, frantically pressing with his thumb, but it kept sounding. Finally, he had to get in the truck and start the engine. Then the klaxon fell silent and the dogs sat back. Wayne shut off the motor and climbed out.
We all stood there looking at Wayne. He looked around at us, and there was a long awkward silence, which I broke.
“Of course you don’t want to be filmed today, because I.T. doesn’t want to be bound by anything you tell us. Because you guys want to be able to change your minds and do something else if you want,” I said.
“Yes, that’s right,” he replied sharply.
So there you have it.
It was just so much bullshit, although no one said that to Wayne’s face, because we are too polite.
The young man continued to film. The public relations disaster was just beginning.
People had questions that Wayne mostly evaded with vague answers, like you’d give to a demanding pre-schooler. “That’ll be up to the faller,” he kept saying. “We’ll see what gets decided.”
Several people pressed him to talk about the wetland, ringed by big cedars. There, he did come up with a definite answer: A buffer zone would protect it. “The riparian zone is marked,” he told us. This meant there would be no logging next to the marsh and the watercourses.
We were all prepared to ground-truth his statements, so we trooped through the woods and across the streams and down through the towering cedars into the swamp. Once we got there, the flagging tape told a different story. Residents saw the riparian zone markers fluttering in the marsh and realized this wetland wasn’t even on the map. The flagging tape and the maps said the big cedars were going to fall.
The residents turned to Wayne for an explanation. He backpedaled furiously. “This is not the final map,” he blurted. “It’s taken from a twenty-year-old ortho photo.”
“We can all agree this is a wetland though, right?” one woman insisted. Wayne agreed, carefully.
Island Timberlands owns big sections of Cortes Island. I.T., in turn, is owned by Brookfield Asset Management (BAM), a Wall Street investment firm. Coincidentally – or not – BAM also owns Zucotti Park, the site of the original Occupy Wall Street camp. Yes, these are the same 1%ers who evicted people from the park. They are corporate raiders out to liquefy any assets they can, including old-growth forests.
In exchange for clearcutting the island, the corporation is dangling the possibility of a few short-term jobs. That’s it. That’s all. No parkland, no amenities, nothing. I’m betting local people will not get those jobs.
The residents of Cortes Island have pushed back every time the corporate dudes showed up to tell them the forest was going to be logged. The dudes got sent off with a message: don’t try it.
This time, though, the pressure is mounting. Cortesians fear that the company won’t back down and they will have to put themselves on the line.
Local environmental group Wildstands has tried every reasonable path to preserving the big trees and watercourses. It opened negotiations to purchase the land (I.T. won’t sell, not even for double the market value) and launched a petition that already has almost 5000 signatures – not bad for an island of a thousand people! Next, they’re calling for people to come and bear witness.
Meanwhile, another group is recruiting and training legal observers. Island Stance emphasises that observers aren’t protestors; they monitor human rights in encounters between the public and the police.
Who owns the land? Or does the land own us? Will everyone who loves Cortes Island obey the corporate managers? Or will they obey their conscience? Will they give in to authority, or stand up for their island’s wildlife and ecosystems?
Ask Auntie Civ -- the world's first anti-civilization advice columnist!
Dear Auntie Civ,
I am wondering how a post-civilization society will be able to handle chronic illnesses like Crohn’s disease. You see, I have Crohn’s disease and the only treatment that works for me requires me to go to a hospital every few weeks to get a 2 hour IV treatment.
Of course, my situation is kind of a Catch-22. Crohn’s is most likely caused by some kind of environmental factor in so-called developed nations (my guess is it’s the food, but who knows). So it looks like civilization gave me Crohn’s, but I can’t survive without civilization.
I’ve met a lot of Primitivists who have flat-out told me I’ll have to die for their utopia, to which I’ve quickly replied, “fuck you.” Surely there must be some kind of way to do away with civilization without asking me and comrades with similar sicknesses to die.
Author and activist Derrick Jensen would consider the label “uncivilized” a compliment. But then, he’s not your garden-variety white California environmentalist. He’s an outspoken anti-authoritarian and vehement anti-capitalist, yet he refuses to be categorized as either an anarchist or a socialist. Instead of controlling the means of production, Jensen calls on workers to destroy the means of production in order to save the planet. “Luddite” fits, but it doesn’t go far enough.
In an interview earlier this year, Jensen said he rejects the term “primitivist” because it’s a “racist way to describe indigenous peoples.” He prefers “indigenist” or “ally to the indigenous,” because “indigenous peoples have had the only sustainable human social organizations, and … we need to recognize that we [colonizers] are all living on stolen land.”
Jensen has fifteen books in print, including Listening to the Land (1995), A Language Older Than Words (2000), As the World Burns (2007), and Lives Less Valuable (2010). His most influential work, the 2006 best-seller Endgame: The Problem of Civilization, is the subject of the 2010 indie film END:CIV.
Ender Ilkay’s proposal for a sprawling resort on top of the Juan de Fuca Trail draws heavy fire.
At his public presentation, West Vancouver-based developer Ender Ilkay was calm and self-assured—until he got angry. Then the claws came out.
Ilkay and his company, Marine Trail Holdings, plan to develop seven parcels of forestland purchased from Western Forest Products—land that, until recently, was part of a publicly-managed Tree Farm License. In 2007, the province’s sudden decision to release 28,000 hectares of forestland from TFL status to WFP without consultation or compensation triggered a storm of controversy and court actions. Complications scuttled Ilkay’s earlier plans to develop two of the parcels.
Now, Ilkay’s back, with an ambitious plan for a sprawling resort that includes a recreation centre, tourist lodge, and 279 cabins stretching along seven kilometres of choice land between Mystic Beach and Sombrio Beach.