Jeff Luers' Wake Up Call

Back in ‘98 when a friend and I started the Fall Creek Treesit, we sat alone in that forest; no ground-support, no other treesits – just us. We watched from our perch high in the canopy as Grandmother and Grandfather trees were felled to build the road. I remember spilling the coffee I was brewing on our little stove as I watched. My friend, the most mean and cynical man I’ve ever known, said the first and only kind words I’ve ever heard escape his lips:

“Some will fall so that others may be saved.”

The tears streamed down my face in silent protest of what I was witnessing. Below, the loggers jeered and laughed. I donned my climbing gear and my knife. I was going to the ground, and, one way or another, this was gonna end.

My friend stopped me. I don’t even remember what he said. But I remember sitting there in spilled coffee, tears in my eyes. It is the most powerless and helpless I’ve ever felt.

I think back to that time now because I am feeling very similar. I’m sitting trapped in a cell watching the world go to shit and I can’t do a damn thing about it.

A couple of articles caught my eye the other day. One was about fish farming and the necessity of domesticating the ocean. The author, a scientist, went on to say that we have accepted the domestication of the land, now we must accept the domestication of the ocean; the days of wildness are over. The other article was about global warming. It said it was too late – not enough had been done, not enough would be done; all we can do is prepare for the consequences.

A friend sent me photos of the recent protests in Scotland. The army helicopters flying over, dropping off troops, protecting the rich – the elite – the only humans that matter. I was amazed (but not surprised) that people are still shocked by this. (I guess they don’t remember US soldiers with M-60s at last years’ G8.)

Back in the states the Patriot Act has been renewed. Bush just took away all the wilderness designations environmental reformists fought so hard to get. US courts have ruled it is legal for developers to demolish homes to build malls. And our prisons are filling with radical activists and would-be revolutionaries.

What can I do? My words cannot galvanize the masses. I can’t make people fight back. I am lost. I could write a guerrilla manifesto on how to fight a successful revolution in the US, opening myself up to more consequences, maybe even more time. But would anyone act? Would anyone organize? Would any non-militants offer aid; offer to help put society back together? Would anyone open themselves up to the risk? Would you?

I think that I can answer all those questions: No. Inaction is the price of privilege. Hypocrisy is the cost of comfort. It is impossible to inspire by inciting feelings of guilt. I know this, but, it is also impossible to inspire when I believe it is a lost cause.

Even when I take into consideration the many brave cells out there fighting, and I know why they fight; in the depths of my spirit I know and I understand. I still believe we have lost. Those are the three words no one wants to hear. The words I am loathe to write. But maybe hearing them will slap you back to reality. This isn’t a game. It sure as hell ain’t a fucking fairytale with a guaranteed happy ending.

The resistance is up to you. You can organize – really organize bringing people together. You can teach – not just your friends, but strangers. You can propagate the resistance with graffiti, stencils and flyers. You can create alternatives by squatting, guerrilla gardening, creating and using alternative energies. You can become a militant – a smart one who learns how to cause the most damage and get away.

But what you can’t do it sit on your ass and flap your gums about how messed up things are. Because if you know how bad it is and you do nothing, you are the reason we lost. And you insult and betray everyone who has fought back. You spit in the face of those who have given their lives or lost their freedom demanding something better.

If our international movement cannot mount an offensive that is more than just a spectacle, then we deserve our fate. And I deserve 22 years for being foolish enough to believe we had a chance.

There are many who will continue to fight against all odds. Because for us, it is personal. If nothing else, we will go down fighting. That’s a lot to ask of someone – asking them to fight a losing battle. But, I’m asking it of you. If we are going down, let’s go down swinging. Let’s make it the toughest, hardest fought battle this system has ever faced. And if we lose, at least we will have made them earn it; at least we won’t have just handed them the world. At least we will have made a stand.

There is no shame in losing a fight – if you fight. That’s the only thing I expect of any =/human being – when they are pushed against a wall, they fight back. I expect that of you.

*Jeffrey Free Luers* *#13797671 OSP 2605 State Street Salem, OR 97310*