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forest defense | gender & sexuality

Women/Trans Action Camp to come and Rock the Trees

Come Amazons and gender-benders, June 27-July 2nd, to the Mt. Hood National Forest!
Women's/Trans Action Camp: Come and Rock the Forest

From June 27th to July 2nd people identifying as women, or people who were raised to be women (but who have declined to accept an identity that does not reflect their true personalities) are invited to an action camp in the Mount Hood National Forest.
The purpose in gathering would be to share out the skills of forest defense, living off the land, coming into power, and holding space for other people to come into their own. If you have skills in any of these areas, we invite you to come share them. If not, we urge you to come with your questions, ideas, and stories. It is our position that these are deeply important.
People's diversity of experience has not always been valued in the colonizer's culture; a fact all too clear in a land whose original inhabitants were killed, or left to struggle for their culture or their lives. Other people were not legally known as human when they came, or were forced to come here. This is especially, not exclusively, true of those with more melanin in their skin. Women got the vote only a century ago. Now they are often asked to be grateful for what they have, and stop "bitching" about what they haven't got. Many people who identify outside the boundaries of gender live among threats from all sides. The poor are literally, sometimes, not seen.
It is not our view that this makes it desirable to supress anyone's voice. We are often confused about how to figure out whose voice has been supressed more than another's, and about how to proceed even when an inequality is clear. But then, we are learning a thing that has never been taught to us: how to live by love instead of fear.
We increasingly see the connections between other beings and ourselves. We act according to this knowledge. We live towards love!

Love sees connections; fear cuts things apart from each other. It is also true that love can also act in self-defense. The language of the ones who cut the forests is a language of self-defense: we must, they say, to stave back disease, or else the forests will die. We must cut down the trees, or else communities will die....the economy will die.....and if that happens, we will be at the mercy of: (place feared noun here).
From the forest movement, I at least don't want to shut the voice of the forest-cutters because of what they say. I have difficulty taking what they say at face value, since it has been shown that even those who rape, or kill, generally find a way to excuse it in the name of self-defense. I point this perception at myself as well.
From my perspective, I see how a living, breathing ecosystem has been divided into parcels and sliced irretrievably down, on the excuse that before it "wasn't living up to it's potential". How many children who have chosen paths different than their parents would have wanted have heard that one? To my eyes, the 237 acres of (much ancient) forest called the "Bear" and "Cub" timber sales, and slated to be logged at any time after July 1st, are fine the way they are. Sure, some stands of trees have diseases. People have diseases, too - should we act in such a way that gives us profit and deprives them of nutrients that they need to survive, because they're "not living up to their potential"? Shall we kill all but five humans per acre because sometimes, some of us die?
The forest industry frames it as a jobs-or-trees choice. Yet, every person who currently works in fishing, farming, and forestry (the US Bureau of Labor Statistics groups them that way) would get about $568,000 per year more than they normally do if the timber sale program just stopped, and the tax dollars went to the workers. Taxpayers, not the industry, give the timber sale program $1.3 billion per year.
What if the people currently paid to cut down the forest were given a wage sufficient to feed, clothe, school, and care for their families, and had their retirement taken care of, to boot? Can you imagine how many jobs could be made in forest restoration, a job that would use the loggers' considerable skills, and keep their children within their communities?
At CFA, we have not yet received a response, from the timber industry, and the government, that convinces us that this could not be done, even considering the cost inherent in switching industrial bases. Only three percent of the lumber domestically produced comes from public lands. When can we stop?
Seeing the forest as we see it, seeing the system of power serving power as we see it, we prefer to become a community that learns how to stand together to assert our reality until it can't be denied. Come join us in our continuing oddessy of finding power with, instead of apart from or against, one another.....with each other, with the forest, with the earth! If the people in the timber industries want to treat our lives as of equal value to their own, we'll open a space for them too. Until then - we will work with the willing, and build our strength - together.
In the spirit of Judi Bari, and mother earth, we call all those who identify as women, or who were raised as women, to come and join us. Women, genderqueer, and trans folk have been known as property recently enough to know what it is like to have efforts at being one's self can be cut down. We see a similar objectification occurring to the forest.
As soon as we finish solidifying the schedule, we will post it, and directions to the camp, at www.cascadiasummer.org, and www.cascadiaforestalliance.org. In the meantime, we welcome all people, regardless of gender, to call in with questions, or to ask us how you can join in.
You can reach us at (503) 241-4879

Workshops may include, but not be limited to, medic training, radio technology, primitive living skills, nonviolence/civil disobedience, legal rights, erotic consent, assertiveness, and self-defense.
The sales are eight miles from Breitenbush Hot Springs.
Good writing 13.Jun.2003 15:59

James

Very well written. Could you frame out the corporate welfare argument a bit more though? I don't quite follow the statistics. I'm not sure what you're referring to -- I'm guessing Oregon workers? -- but even still the statistics don't seem to make much sense.

1.3 billion / 568,000 = 2,288. Yet there are certainly more than 2,288 agricultural workers in the state of Oregon.

What did I miss?

Also: I'd thought I'd heard it all before...but the forest is a gay, transsexual woman? Heh. Like I said though, I liked the story. It flows well.