by Craig Rosebraugh
The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) has been active in the United States officially since 1997, causing more than $45 million in damages to various entities. As the organization continues to grow and expand its range of targets, ELF has taken an extreme position against individuals, corporations, and governments that, in the organization's view, places monetary gain ahead of the natural environment. Rejecting state sanctioned means of legal protest, ELF uses economic sabotage to inflict financial suffering on those deemed objectionable.
In February 2002, the FBI listed the ELF as the largest and most active US-based terrorist group. Although no one has died in any of these operations, ELF's campaign against loggers, SUV dealerships, and others it considers threats to the planet have galvanized and polarized the environmental movement.
Former ELF spokesperson Rosebraugh charts the history and ideology of ELF and explores their tactics, successes, and limitations. He shows how ELFers offer an uncompromising vision of an earth under assault from the forces of greed and corporate violence, and how they employ direct action against those they deem a threat to the planet.
Rosebraugh also examines the issues of whether violence is or is not justifiable, and the short- and long-term political benefits and drawbacks of using violence. Finally, he offers a trenchant vision of the future of the environmental movement, radical politics, and US democracy under the so-called Patriot Act.
Whatever your view of direct action or violence, Burning Rage of a Dying Planet is essential reading for those trying to understand the mindset and motivations of contemporary radical environmentalists.