Activist Group Known for Extreme Tactics Plans Utah Retreat Focused on “Environmental Justice”
Environmental activist group Earth First! is planning to hold its annual Round River Rendezvous (RRR) July 3-10 in the western Uinta Mountains of Utah that will focus on “environmental justice” and could possibly target oil and gas companies.
This year’s gathering is prioritizing natural resources through a “convergence of folks from around the continent involved in direct action campaigns and other projects in defense of land, water, and all living creatures.”
The group also notes that its fundraising will benefit environmental causes among other issues according to the website, “We are raising funds to offer travel support for Black, Brown, and Indigenous organizers and folks in frontline struggles for land and water defense, indigenous self-determination, migrant justice, prison/police abolition, and other work that puts the justice back in environmental justice and the war back in eco-war.”
Earth First! has established a reputation of using extreme tactics and unlawful protests against a variety of economic and social targets that often result in arrests, and that these activists usually follow the annual retreat.
On the website, the group says, “Often, the post-Rendezvous action targets destructive extraction practices like mining, drilling, and logging. Last year, Earth First! joined Mijente and the American Indian Movement to shut down an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Ohio.”
Earth First! also an entire page dedicated to “Direct Action” campaigns that aims to “force governments and corporations to stop their exploitive extraction of natural resources.” Their tactics include occupations of corporate boardrooms, the personal homes of CEOS, and the offices of government officials, blockades of industry operations, including people chaining themselves to equipment, and tree sitting to halt logging operations.
But their tactics have sometimes gone beyond protests and involved destruction of property.
“Some Earth First! actions have included 200-pound stumps deposited on rangers’ desks, manure from cattle grazed on public lands stacked against air conditioning vents,” the website proclaims.
A 153-page handbook, titled the “Direct Action Manuel,” discusses protests and blockade tactics in even greater detail and includes a section about what to expect in the legal process when these activities lead to arrests, arraignments, trials, and sentencing.
There is no mention of planned unlawful protests this year. Instead, Earth First seems focused on organizing. “As usual, there will be tons of rad workshops and presentations–direct action, climbing, blockades, ecology walks, campaign strategy, local land and water struggles, and more—as well as plenty of time to chill and also to throw down and take action,” the website says.
Earth First! also makes multiple mentions to land ownership in Utah that appears not to recognize the United States as a nation.
“This year’s Rendezvous will take place in the western Uinta Mountains, on occupied Ute land,” the website says. “The Rondy will take place somewhere in or around what is colonially known as the State of Utah—occupied land of the Shoshone, Goshute, Paiute, Ute, and Diné peoples.”