The dark past of Earth First!

Murray Bookchin (1988):

Let's face it: There is a major dispute in the ecology and Green movements, today. It is a dispute between social ecology and "deep ecology" -- the first, a body of ideas that asks that we deal with human beings primarily as social beings who differ profoundly as to their status as poor and rich, women and men, black and white, gays and "straights," oppressed and oppressor; the second, that sees human beings as a mere "species" -- as mammals and, to some people like the "Earth First!" leaders, as "vicious" creatures -- who are subject almost entirely to the "forces of nature" and are essentially interchangeable with lemmings, grizzly bears (a favorite species!), or, for that matter, with insects, bacteria, and viruses.

"Earth First!" means exactly what it says and what "deep ecology" implies -- the "earth" comes before people, indeed, people (to the periodical's editor, David Foreman) are superfluous, perhaps even harmful, and certainly dispensable. "Natural law" tends to supplant social factors. Thus: is there a famine in Ethiopia? If so, argues Foreman to an admiring Devall in a notorious interview, nature should be permitted to "take its course" and the Ethiopian should be left to starve. Are Latins (and, one may add, Indians) crossing the Rio Grande? Then they should be stopped or removed, contends Foreman, because they are burdening "our" resources.