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Craig Rosebraugh at Laughing horse Friday night

Former spokesperson for the Earth Liberation front, Craig Rosebraugh had a book release this past Friday night to a packed room at Laughing horse books for his new book "The Logic of Political Violence: Lessons in Reform and Revolution".
From 1997-2001, Craig Rosebraugh received international notoriety from his role as a spokesperson for the Earth Liberation Front. Considered to be the top domestic terrorism threat in the United States by the F.B.I., the ELF has inflicted over $43 million in damages since 1997 to entities profiting off the destruction of the natural environment.

Rosebraugh resigned his spokesperson position in 2001 after believing that more directed and extreme action was need against the political system in the United States. In 2003, Rosebraugh co-formed Arissa, an effort to build a revolutionary movement in the United States.
Friday night at Laughing horse books, Craig spoke before a packed room about the release of his new book "The Logic of Political Violence: Lessons in Reform and Revolution".

His talk only lasted about 30 minutes (a far cry from his 3 hour lecture there a year ago) and was followed by a strictly accounted for 20 minute question and answer session. Some criticized his responses to some hard questions as being incomplete and evasive.

Somewhat reminisant of Malcolm X and the Black Panthers, Craig sat at a small desk with two standing body guards on both sides. At times Craig raised his voice and pounded his fist on the table as he outlined the need for revolutionary change. At one point he asked for a show of hands from the audience as to who was fed up with attempts at "single issue justice" and their continual failure to bring about any substantive change.
In one of the more telling moments of the evening, Craig stated that you could not find one book that advocated the revolutionary overthrow of the United States government in any library anywhere in the United States.

It was obvious to this observer that Craigs politics had not softened and that he probably had become even more radical since his last visit to Laughing horse books over a year ago.
Craig made it clear that in his opinion, we no longer had the luxury of working within the construct of the system and that we had to begin to work toward revolutionary social and political change.

While "The Logic of Political Violence: Lessons in Reform and Revolution" outlined Craigs truely unique and well documented indepth studies of history and the role of political violence in bringing about social and political change, he seemed to leave little hope for future generations short of a complete revolution.

On one very important wide eyed look at the reality we live in, it would seem hard to disagree with Craig's conclusions, but on another, it revealed a man who has given up and resigned himself to promoting a revolution whose time may not come about in our lifetime.
So what do YOU think? 15.Dec.2003 13:49

Nona Bow

OK Steve, thanks for the objective report of what Craig said. But what do YOU think? Any criticism or is Craig a new pope, infallable and all?

I wasn't there but my friends and comrades who where report the following:

1) Craig's analysis stems from the lack of success of single issue direct actions. Their understanding is that since locking yourself kryptonite lock to a bureaucrats' door has failed, then we need to pick up a gun and molotov.

2) Craig lacks any class consciousness.

3) If Craig is so revolutionary, why is he focusing on opening a yuppie restaurant on Hawthorne? Perhaps becoming a capitalist and gentrifier is a reason for point #2 above...

4) The summation of my friend's reports is that Craig is a upper-middle class intellectual who lacks any contact with "real" people. Because of this seperation, common in his social strata, he despairs for any sort of mass social movement. Isolated and powerless, folks like Craig (and the Weather Underground before him) play uber-radicals for a couple years and always devolve back into the strata of social service bureaucrats, professors, school teachers and hip-progressive business owners, ala Calendula. Mal Appeitit!

What do I think? 15.Dec.2003 14:46

StevetheGreen

I guess my personal take on what Craig had to say has changed dramatically from the first time I heard him speak over a year ago.

A year ago, I felt quite hopeless! Which in turn caused my radical juices to flow and I (like Craig), convinced myself that the system was too broke to fix and the only thing left to do was to tear it all down.
But a year later, I guess Craigs words seem more like the cleverly rehashed words of Lenin, than they do of someone who was actually offering something original or even viable.

So I guess what changed it for me was watching the people who have not yet given up and who have worked tirelessly on the single issue items that Craig aspoused his disdain for.

If it comes down to choosing between "doing nothing" (except to speak of the inevitable revolution to come), or getting off my ass and continuing to fight the good fight against the "powers that be" (that in my opinion, are hoping that we give up and in the process get thrown into the ever growing prison industrial complex.), then I have to choose doing something over dumpster diving and empty talk of revolution.

Unlike Craig, I don't think we have to choose between the two.
I think we can fight the capitalist imperialist bastards both within the construct of our current bought and sold system, as well as outside the acceptable rules of dissent. In fact, I think we must do both.

I do respect Craig and his body of work and unlike some others, I think it is high time that someone stood up and loudly called for the overthrow of this corrupt regime. Since I don't know him personally, I will not judge him or his life. (Hypocrit or not!)(
I'm just glad someone like him is brave enough to stand up and scream to anybody that will listen that we need to bring about massive change, whether it be via revolution, or within the system, or both.

the liberalization of dissent 15.Dec.2003 16:22

j

I think both the above posts are filled with half-truths and straight up lies, in both the personal criticisms made of Craig Rosebraugh and the organizational comparisons to the weather underground, Lenin, Malcolm X, etc. Comparisons should be made if they are accurate, but the posters above are being really reactionary against the whole idea of political revolution and the work of revolutionaries, and attempting to conjur negative connotations....by any means. They are trying to abstract the ideas presented at the speech: of the need and historical legitimacy of revolution, into an ambiguous and overriding fear.

Why didn't you just call him the hate that hate made?

To the poster who based all assumptions on second-hand interpretations: maybe your "comrades" were drunk or something. Because what I heard, and I was listening closely, was a general sketch of Craig's logic on the illegitimacy of the hollywood popularized dogmatic non-violence, some presonal reflection on his process of deciding to write the book, and a general info session on Arissa and the need for revolution. It was not an enycyclopedic recitation on his thoughts and beliefs; it was his book release. And it was brief. He did what authors do at book releases, and talked about the process of the book, it's ideas in bold strokes, and pertinent personal experiences. What the hell do you expect?

And how do you know what "type" of people he is in contact with? Are you watching through his windows, tapping his phone??

To steve the green: I appreciate that you tried to write an objective article. Maybe you should avoid presenting two polarized and equally as reactionary viewpoints as balanced, however. If "news" is what you're after, you should report on what he actually did say. But maybe you don't remember because you were too busy drawing your connections with a marker of fear.

Indymedia: Why do you feature commentary posing as news? I believe channel 12 more fully covered the actual event. That's just plain distressing: I didn't realize that Indymedia wanted to do the cops' work for them in terms of spreading misinformation as truth and sensationalism as news.

Also 15.Dec.2003 16:29

j

I wanted to add that I agree with and I think Steve is right on to not talk shit about what he doesn't know about, and in his respect for Rosebraugh's efforts. I criticize his comparison to seemly random past revolutionaries because it has no strategic legitimacy in my mind and I assume the broad categorizations must result from an implulse other than idealogical or historical likenesses.

to nona bow 15.Dec.2003 17:04

badie

i guess that's better than playing at uber radical for a few years and then devolving back into the strata of convicts, janitors, and dishwashers at the local coop.

what do YOU do for a living? i'll bet it's somehow related to capitalism.

Hey j! 16.Dec.2003 10:00

StevetheGreen

I felt I needed to respond to these comments by j! <> I appreciate that you tried to write an objective article. Maybe you should avoid presenting two polarized and equally as reactionary viewpoints as balanced, however. If "news" is what you're after, you should report on what he actually did say. But maybe you don't remember because you were too busy drawing your connections with a marker of fear. First of all, my initial article was more about "reporting what I saw that evening, than it was my opinion. I was then asked to offer my opinion and I did. I was not attempting to achieve balance in offering my view! My view is what I think, not an attempt to be fair to all sides. I thought that should be obvious. Secondly, there was no "marker of fear" in anything I wrote because there is nothing I fear as it pertains to the issue at hand. Nor do I consider anything I wrote as "reactionary". My comments were my personal perspective based on my knowledge and experience, which admitingly may not be enough to offer a cogent informed evolved view. But they were my thoughts, and that was what was requested of me. Finally, I think the issue of revolutionary tactics combined with single issue attempts at justice is another subject that is not discussed beyond the surface, nearly often enough. For that, I thank Craig for bringing the issue to the forefront. But I also think that what we do, what we say, and how far we each go, is a personal decision based on our own values and the limitations of our own unique situations. That is why it is unfair and unjust to criticize people for adhering to their own principles, simply because they might not agree with your views. But more importantly than the question of "what works" as it relates to bringing about social and political change, is what doesn't and why. Clearly working within the construct of our current system can be successful in bringing about social justice, but in my opinion as with most important issues of our time, they must also be coupled with efforts from those who are willing to work outside the acceptable rules of dissent. Craig made it clear, it was either total revolution all the time, or nothing. I disagree. If that is reactionary or undeducated and unreasonable, I am a willing student to having my mind changed.

female body gaurd 19.Dec.2003 16:42

mo

I'm not sure if this is on topic, but
there was a woman body gaurd at Rosebraugh's talk.

RE Mo 20.Dec.2003 03:27

Aunt Sam

Hey, thanks for the heads up. It makes a small difference, doesn't it?