"There's not a Red America, or a Blue America, there's the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA." ---Barack Obama, 2004

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Another hero rises up: Tim DeChristopher

This article from the Daily Kos was brought to my attention by my helpful assistant...we need more people like this to rise up and monkey wrench the system over the next month to combat these eco-saboteurs.

Remember This Name: Tim DeChristopher Hotlist

Sat Dec 20, 2008 at 09:58:12 AM PST

Per UTVoter's excellent diary, "Holiday oil and gas sale & civil disobedience" and the Salt Lake Trib article, "Impostor disrupts lands bid: Civil disobedience » U. student drives up bids, may face charges", Tim DeChristopher is a hero.

Tim DeChristopher, 27, faces possible federal charges after winning bids totaling about $1.8 million on more than 10 lease parcels that he admits he has neither the intention nor the money to buy -- and he's not sorry.

"I decided I could be much more effective by an act of civil disobedience," he said during an impromptu streetside news conference during an afternoon blizzard. "There comes a time to take a stand."

The Sugar House resident -- questioned and released after disrupting a U.S. Bureau of Land Management lease auction of 149,000 acres of public land in scenic southern and eastern Utah -- said he came to the BLM's state office in Salt Lake City to join about 200 other activists in a peaceful protest outside the building Friday morning. But then he registered with the BLM as representing himself and went to the auction room.

I would love to post the SL Trib's photo of Tim DeChristopher right here. If someone could post it in a diary, that would help bring this important person to the prominence he deserves.

Effective Action

Not only did he disrupt oil and gas lease sales, DeChristopher provided an important and effective example of modern civil disobedience. He came up with a creative, effective, pragmatic solution--one that would not disrupt, inconvenience or anger the general public on whose behalf he was acting--and then summoned the courage to act on it.

Legal Consequences

David Thoreau would be proud.

In addition to disrupting the sales AND providing a good example of civil disobedience, DeChristopher's may have a legal consequence, which is in fact a customary feature and one of the points of civil disobedience: to demonstrate against law of a state that would allow a particular injustice to take place.

Most acts of civil disobedience lead to a night or a few in jail. In DeChristopher's case, as the Trib article notes, the federal charges may lead to larger penalties. Only time and the courts will tell what the outcome might be. No matter what, however, the risk Tim DeChristopher took on behalf the current and future general public for having "monkey-wrenched a federal oil- and gas-lease sale Friday" was substantial, calculated and taken.

Responses

We owe Tim DeChristopher a great debt of gratitude.

  1. As we follow this story, we should consider and act to raise funds, as necessary, for the following expenses, if any:
* legal defense leading up to and during the trial, * legal defense during his prison stay * fines * loss of income (if any)

Whether or not these funds are needed, IMHO, he deserves a financial demonstration of gratitude, to him or in his name.

  1. This event is also worthy on many levels of a documentary:
* To expose the Bush administration's 11th effort to enable private entities to plunder public lands and wreak environmental havoc pursuing more carbon-based fuel. * To document the sale event itself: the preface, including public outcry, including voices such as Robert Redford's and Terry Tempest Williams; the event, including footage of the protest at the location, and a review of the transactions and DeChristopher's involvement; the aftermath, in terms of what happens to DeChristopher and the parcels he impacted with his action, what happens to the other parcels, and what happends to DeChristopher. * To shine a light on modern civil disobedience. This country is in definite of information and educaton; i.e., voting is not the only responsibility or answer. Direct action and civil disobedience also have had, have and should continue to have important roles in civic involvement.

I will be contacting the following and encourage you to do the same:

Geralyn Dreyfus, Executive Director, Salt Lake Film Center
Sundance Film Institute
Robert Redford
Marshall Thompson, "A Soldier's Peace"

I urge you to contact anyone/everyone you know who could help make a documentary happen.

  1. It might also be worth considering raising money over time to one day acquire a plot of land near Arches and put up a small monument commemorating and expressing gratitude for his act. This may sound over the top, but raising awareness for and inspiring direct action and civil disobedience is no trivial matter, especially with so many significant problems weighing on us. We need activists to spur and accelerate progress.

Thanks you, Tim DeChristopher.

Tags: Tim DeChrisdtopher, Civil Disobedience, Direct Action, Utah, Salt lake City, Arches, Canyonlands, Nine Mile Canyon, Federal charges, Federal gas and oil lease sale, fundraising (all tags) :: Previous Tag Versions

1 comment:

bryan said...

The implication is this was 'fraudulent' as he couldn't pay. Are there not 1.7 million other environmentalists out there willing to pay $1 for this land right?

I seem to recall something about government by the people for the people. I cannot believe the US citizens have allowed this type of behaviour for 8 years. Amazing, truly amazing.