June 2, 2001

Code of the Eco-Warrior

Rule Number One

Nobody gets hurt. Nobody. Not even yourself.

Corollary: The eco-warrior hurts no living thing, absolutely never.

Corollary: The eco-warrior is strong, lean, tough, hardy. The eco-warrior can hike twenty miles overnight, over any terrain, in any kind of weather, with a fifty-pound pack on his back. Maybe sixty pounds. And do it night after night, through brush and swamp, cactus and rattlesnakes, mountain and forest. The eco-warrior does not chain-drink beer or chain-smoke cigars. The eco-warrior takes care of himself, herself, bounces back from injury and exhaustion, never gets sick or if sick carries on despite sickness. The eco-warrior is tough, the eco-warrior is brave, taking on the risks of a soldier in frontline combat, the dangers of a commando behind the lines. The eco-warrior is a guerrilla soldier fighting a war against an enemy equipped with high technology, tax-extracted public funds, legal privilege, media protection, superior numbers, police and secret police, communication police and thought police. Fighting them all, the eco-warrior cannot even carry a weapon; his own Code of Honorable Conduct forbids it.
Corollary: The eco-warrior does not fight people, he fights an institution, the planetary Empire of Growth and Greed. He fights not human beings but a monstrous megamachine never seen since the days of the Late Jurassic and the carnivorous dinosaur. He does not fight humans, he fights a runaway technology, an all-devouring entity that feeds on humans, on all animals, on all living things, and even finally on minerals, metals, rock, soil, on the earth itself, on the bedrock basis of universal being.

Rule Number Two

Don’t Get Caught.

Corollary: The eco-warrior avoids capture, passing all costs on to them, the enemy. The point of his work is to increase their costs, nudge them toward net loss, bankruptcy, forcing them to withdraw and retreat from their invasion of our public lands, our wilderness, our native and primordial home.

Rule Number Three

If you do get caught you’re on your own. Nobody goes your bail. Nobody hires a lawyer. Nobody pays your fines.

Corollary: The eco-warrior works alone, or with one or two old and trusted comrades that he’s known for years. The eco-warrior forms no network, creates no club or party or organization of any kind. He relies on himself (or sometimes herself) and on his little cell of two or three, never more…a small circle of trusted friends, a tiny felonious conspiracy to commit non-felonious misdemeanors against the perimeters of the techno-industrial ordnung. The eco-warrior must also be a man or woman of heroic dedication to the work, avoiding organization and all forms of networking, operating strictly on anarchic principles of democratic decentralism. Not fanatic dedication—no place for fanatics here—but heroic dedication. Because the eco-warrior must do his or her work without hope of fame or glory or even public recognition, at least for the present. The eco-warrior is anonymous, mysterious, unknown, is awarded no medals, is granted no privileges of rank. Not only does he win no taste of personal fame, he must expect the opposite, namely and to wit, public obloquy, vilification, and verbal abuse. He must expect that certain elements of the power structure will murmur against him. Editorial writers will denounce him, anonymously, from the safe security of their editorial offices. Commerce chambers will burn him in effigy—or in person if they catch him. Congressmen will fulminate, senators abominate, bureaucrats denunciate and all the vipers of the media vituperate. Those who should be his admirers will also denounce him. The official conservation societies and wilderness clubs and wildlife federations and defenders of fur-bearers and national resource defense councils will scramble and scurry to place maximum distance between themselves and him, insisting that they deplore his work and even going so far as to offer monetary reward for information leading to his capture and conviction. Not only does the eco-warrior work without hope of fame and praise, not only does he work in the dark of night amidst a storm of official public calumny, but he works without hope of pecuniary recompense.

Corollary: The eco-warrior does his work out of love, the love that dare not speak its name, the love of spareness, beauty, open space, clear skies and flowing streams, grizzly bear, mountain lion, wolf pack and twelve-pack, of wilderness and wanderlust and primal human freedom and so forth.

Rule Number Four

No domestic responsibilities. The eco-warrior does not marry, if he marries he does not breed. Better not to marry. She does not marry or bred. The eco-warrior, like a priest or priestess, like a samurai, like a dedicated revolutionary, forgoes he personal pleasures of ordinary life, forgoes ordinary life, for the sake of the great case. For a time only, naturally. When he reaches the age of forty, or she of thirty, if they’re still alive and not in jail, then they retire from the war against goliath and rejoin the natural, evolutionary mainstream of organic life. The eco-war is only for the young.

Extracted without permission from Hayduke Lives!, Estate of Edward Abbey. Boston: Little Brown & Company, 1990. pp.110-114.

May 18, 2002 keeping this active

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