Earth First! is a long-running radical environmentalist
movement. A key thing
to understand about EF!
is that it's completely decentralized
; that is, there's no central committee
or person who runs the show. It is instead composed of local cells
that are generally autonomous
. There's no membership list, and no Headquarters.
One of the implications of this structure is that no one person can speak for EF! as a whole, and there's no Official Policy on issues or tactics. Indeed, there's often heated debate among EF! activists about these things.
EF! groups around the world have worked on a variety of issues, including old-growth logging, highway construction, mining, and the like. A common theme is that humanity is destroying the Earth - our life-support system - at such a rate that radical changes are critical to ensure the long-term survival of all life on earth.
EF! is known for the direct action tactics it uses to get its message out. including hanging banners from bridges and buildings, blockading building entrances, climbing trees and the like. In the past, some EF!ers engaged in monkeywrenching activities, like tree-spiking, but many folks in the movement these days believe the bad press that results makes this a poor tactic. Others cite this as evidence that EF! isn't so radical anymore, and hence makes too many compromises.
One good way to get an idea of EF!'s issues and tactics is to read the Earth First! Journal, published regularly by a collective currently located in Arizona.
EF! was conceived in 1979 by Dave Foreman, Howie Wolke, and Mike Roselle. None of them have been involved in many years. Perhaps the most famous episode in EF!'s history occurred in May 1990 when EF! organizers Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney were nearly killed by a car bomb while organizing Redwood Summer in California. The FBI charged Bari and Cherney in the bombings, charges which have never been proven. The FBI has never shown who really committed the bombing, and many in the movement feel the FBI was a part of a cover-up to protect the real bombers.
Earth First! is always written with an exclamation point. Only tools of the corporate press leave it off.
A favorite EF! slogan is No Compromise in Defense of Mother Earth!. A favorite logo, used on the Journal and plenty of patches and stickers, is the green fist.