Magazine article The Nation

Revolution from above and Below

Magazine article The Nation

Revolution from above and Below

Article excerpt

Revolution From Above and Below

And what in truth was the political consequence of Redwood Summer? The Sierra Club, which had to be bullied into a belated criticism of the police charges against Bari and Cherney for somehow having planned their own attempted assassination (an event treated with spare sympathy for the victims by the alternative journalists Cooper and Goldin), spent the fall contrasting its own responsible efforts with the anarcho-hippies of Earth First!

This, by the way, is how they get you coming and going. Wearing his Democratic Leadership Council hat Cooper attacks Redwood Summer for its "anarchic character," saying the "author of Redwood Summer didn't have the influence to hold back an explicitly counterproductive action."

This "author" was Judi Bari, who spent most of the summer in agonizing pain, often near death, in the shadow of charges from the F.B.I. and the Oakland police, therefore in poor shape to exert much influence on anyone. But suppose she had the influence desired by Cooper. The Voice would have nailed her up for being a Stalinist.

The Sierra Club's big causes in California throughout the summer and fall were two ballot initiatives, Big Green and Forests Forever. Both were defeated on November 6, Big Green by a large enough margin to make me suspect it dragged down Forests Forever in its wake. Now, Big Green was a classic example of revolution from above as attempted by liberals of the sort inhabiting the Sierra Club and many of the other major environmental organizations. The proposition was a lawyer's wet dream, page after page of tiny type calling for vast changes in production, mostly agricultural, throughout the state. The whole package was dumped on voters already apprehensive about recession, wary about costs and job loss if the proposition passed. …

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