Michael Carter of Deep Green Resistance Colorado Plateau, fueled by anger and despair but with only The Monkey Wrench Gang for guidance, carried out acts of sabotage in his youth against industrial encroachment on wilderness. He spiked trees, sabotaged road construction equipment, and cut down billboards. Though he doesn’t regret his impulse to protect life and strike back against the machinery of industrial civilization, he does regret his lack of strategy, big-picture thinking, and basic security culture. Now older, wiser, and working as an aboveground activist, Carter reflects on those underground actions, what he wishes he’d done differently, and what needs to be done today in the face of even more desperate environmental circumstances.
This interview is a fascinating read, giving a glimpse into what might lead someone to consider illegal forms of resistance such as property destruction, the pitfalls they may encounter if they don’t prepare properly, and what it will take to build a larger culture of resistance.
We didn’t know a lot about environmental issues or political resistance, so we didn’t have much understanding of context. We had an instinctive dislike of clear cuts, and we had the book The Monkey Wrench Gang. Other people were monkeywrenching, that is, sabotaging industry to protect wilderness, so we had some vague ideas about tactics but no manual, no concrete theory. We knew what Earth First! was, although we weren’t members. It was a conspiracy only in the remotest sense. We had little strategy and the actions were impetuous. If we’d been robbing banks instead, we’d have been shot in the act.
Nor did we really understand how bad the problem was. We thought that deforestation was damaging to the land, but we didn’t get the depth of its implications and we didn’t link it to other atrocities. We just thought that we were on the extreme edge of the marginal issue of forestry. This was before many were talking about global warming or ocean acidification or mass extinction. It all seemed much less severe than now, and of course it was. The losses since then, of species and habitat and pollution, are terrible. No monkeywrenching I know of did anything significant to stop that. It was scattered, aimed at minor targets, and had no aboveground political movement behind it.
Read the entire interview of Michael Carter, in three parts:
Time is Short: Interview With A Saboteur, Part I
Time is Short: Interview With A Saboteur, Part II
Time is Short: Interview With A Saboteur, Part III