Elaho Valley Anarchist Horde on the end of the 7Cs: A Journal of Sasquatchology (2001, Victoria, Canada)
“The sun shines brightly in the yard, the sky is clear, the air
fresh and bracing. Now the last gate will be thrown open, and I shall be
out of site of the guard, beyond the bars, – alone! How I have hungered
for this hour, how often in the past years have I dreamed of this
rapturous moment – to be alone, out in the open, away from the insolent
eyes of my keepers! I’ll rush away from these walls and kneel on the
warm sod, and kiss the soil, and embrace the trees, and with a song of
joy give thanks to Nature for the blessings of sunshine and air.”
Alexander Berkman, Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist.
Upon my own release from prison I traveled to Seattle from Sheridan,
Oregon to turn myself in to a halfway house. I too was an anarchist in
the hands of the enemy, and while my incarceration was not as long or
harsh as Berkman’s, his memoir contains long portions – sometimes entire
pages – that feel so familiar it seems as though I wrote them myself.
Several times in the final chapter he mentions a longing for wilderness,
an urge to run from the dead cities of the northeast into the forests.
On that ride from one lockup to another I knew why. Civilization is
inherently confining, and even outside of the greybar hotel most of our
lives consist of moving from one box to another in a continuous and
agonizing march that we have little power to control. Looking out the
windows of my friends car I wanted the passing sprawl to be sucked into
the soil and replaced with life, beauty, and liberty.
The nature of incarceration can certainly make a person think about
the incarceration of nature, but even those anarchists who have been
lucky or smart enough to stay out of state custody often get it. If you
are opposed to the artificial hierarchies of class, why support the
equally arbitrary hierarchies based on species? If you think that
forests have less worth than humans than I say you haven’t met enough
cops! There isn’t one authority figure on earth I wouldn’t trade for a
tree, and anyone who would argue the opposite is a moron. But forgive my
rambling, I have written all the above because this wonderful DIY zine
has sparked my sense of rebellion and wildness!
The end of the 90s and the early 2000s was a busy time for forest
defenders, and across the globe direct action campaigns for wilderness
were abundant and inspiring. There are many famous examples, and while
Warner Creek and the anti-roads campaigns of England may have stolen the
spotlight, one rugged crew in British Columbia carried on an overlooked
battle that every activist should know about. If you like raging
warrior grannies, sabotage, unlikely coalitions, and open revolt against
corporations and their governmental subsidiaries, then you ought to
read up on the history of actions in the Elaho, Squamish, and Simms
valleys. This zine, written by members of the Elaho Valley Anarchist
Horde as both a primer for new activists coming to the Elaho and a means
of publicizing the campaign, is an excellent introduction.