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From: "SchNEWS" (
To: "SchNEWS Subscribers" (
Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 02:44:33 +0000
Subject: SchNEWS 195, 11 December 1998


"I sit here looking out over the Eel River valley at a view that I have watched change over the past year while living 180 feet high in this amazing ancient redwood tree, Luna. I listen to Columbia Helicopter in the distance pull logs from once forested slopes. Slopes that Pacific Lumber has now turned into a legacy of clear-cuts, poisons, and mudslides. I think about majestic trees thousands of years old being cut down to become siding and decks. I think about the incredibly committed activists who have been tortured with pepper-spray by the police for merely sitting down in protest, and David Gypsy Chain who was killed by a tree, purposely cut in his direction, while protesting an illegal timber harvest operation. I think about our government compromising away the health and quality of the environment and that of our very lives in order to appease a criminal corporation and I have to wonder why people still ask "why are you still up there". Even now some still don't understand." - Julia Butterfly

It started with people trying to stop one of the last remaining redwood forests in America being clear-cut. One Earth First! (EF!) activist has spent a year tree-sitting up a redwood, while another was recently tragically killed trying to stop logging. Now environmentalists have joined forces with steelworkers to stop the MAXXAM's Pacific Lumber Company. This is the story of the Headwaters campaign of California - and it's been one hell of a week week.

MONDAY and a coalition of striking steel workers, members of the International Workers of the World and EF! successfully blockade a ship at the port of Tacoma Washington. Some people picket the port, others lock onto a crane and conveyor belt, while a flotilla of small boats block the waterway forcing the 650 tonne ship Sea Diamond to anchor off. Members of the Longshoreman's Union refuse to cross the picket and when the Sea Diamond does dock, it still cannot unloaded for several days as the dock conveyor belt has been mysteriously damaged to the tune of $50,000.

WEDNESDAY and Sheriffs' Deputies and employees of the Pacific Lumber start to evict tree-dwelling EF!! activists. The tree-sitters have been living high in the branches of several redwood trees at the site of the recent death of David 'Gypsy' Chain, trying to protect the scene of Gypsy's death while calling for an independent investigation. Instead of prosecuting the company for illegally logging, the local sheriff said he was thinking of charging the protesters with involuntary manslaughter!

THURSDAY marked the one year anniversary of Julia Butterfly's ascent into the ancient redwood where she has stayed ever since.

The campaign to save the ancient redwoods of California has been raging for the past thirteen years since Maxxam took over Pacific lumber Company.

When Charles Hurwitz's MAXXAM company took over the Pacific Lumber Corporation, they tripled the rate of logging in the Redwoods along with liquidating the timber workers' pension fund. Over the years they have broken US Forest Practice Rules domestic water sources of Elk River residents, and its policy of clear cutting even on steep mountain slopes caused a massive land slide which destroyed the homes of seven families.The companies logging licence was eventually suspended last month after its continual law-breaking became even too much for the state of California.(Not that this will mean much to Pacific who contract the actual logging to smaller operators who won't be affected by the ban). Still, the company is to receive $380 million 'compensation' for selling a small section of the forest back to the California state with permission to trash an "as yet unspecified" site elsewhere. Nice work if you can get it.

"They're using a sterile gauze pad, and they were squeezing it (pepper spray) out over her eyes, dripping the stuff across her eyes. She was screaming in a lot of pain. The solution was so bad it was melting their latex gloves." - Earth Firster Mike McCurdy, explaining tactics used against a women 'locked-on' to stop Headwaters being logged

Meanwhile in September 3,000 unionised workers from Kaiser Aluminium (KA) went on strike over the threat of massive job redundancies.KA is 63% owned by MAXXAM, so when it lost its timber operator's license it sacked its 180 loggers, then offered them "opportunities" to break the strike at KA. As one activist put it

"MAXXAM rapes the land here in Northern California, puts its loggers out of work, and increases its bloody scab pool to gain a stronger hand in its efforts to bust the union!"

As the banner unfurled on Monday's read "HURWITZ CUTS JOBS JUST LIKE HE CUTS TREES". Once again it shows there is no such thing as a single issue. The same coporations that are destroying the planet, are the same that are treading all over workers rights. The sooner we all start learning these lessons, making the links and working together, the quicker we will start to topple the MAXXAM corporations of this world. Northcoast EF!, PO Box 4796, Arcata, CA 95518

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