At the very moment public hysteria about government snooping has reached a new, fevered pitch, the radical environmentalists of Everglades Earth First! have decided to hold a very public workshop on the art and science of direct action. Non-violent protest that may involve civil disobedience, direct action often takes the form of creative disruption: lockdowns, sit-ins, tree sits, road blockades: No more business as usual.
Meeting tomorrow at the Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, the afternoon-long training will deal with protest tactics, First Amendment rights, and dealing with official surveillance.
Veterans of protests at shareholder meetings, construction sites, power plants and the 2012 Tampa Republican National Convention will lead training in tactics. And since the direct action playbook includes non-violent civil disobedience, attorneys and legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild will provide a "Know Your Rights" briefing on "how to navigate the legal system" of police power and citizens' obligations.
Along the same lines, because Earth First!, of which EEF! is a South Florida affiliate, has long drawn the attention of the powers-that-be, the Autonomous Playhouse -- "the touring Food Not Bombs radical puppet collective" -- will perform a show about "malicious infiltration" by police agents.
Civil disobedience may be controversial to some, but it has an honorable history that includes advocates like Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. In that tradition, it means deliberate resistance to laws seen as unjust, with acceptance of legal consequences. Even now, in Istanbul, Turkish enviros' resistance to police in defense of the city's scant green space has won international support and forced official concessions.
"We expect to be monitored," EEF! organizer Christian Minaya told New Times. "But we have no problem with doing open workshops. It's important to do that. If we're going to be an open, democratic society we should talk in the open."
Everglades Earth First! Direct Action Training; Saturday, June 15, noon-5:30 p.m.; Quaker Meeting House, 823 N. "A" St. Lake Worth. RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org or (772) 201-7848. For more information visit: scrapscripps.info
Fire Ant -- an invasive species, tinged bright red, with an annoying, sometimes-fatal sting -- covers Palm Beach County. Got feedback or a tip? Contact Fire.Ant@BrowardPalmBeach.com.
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