“Despite Oregon’s revolting racist history as a racist white “utopia,” the state comes off as part of the “left coast,” a safe haven for gender, sexual diversity, environmentalism, and progressive ideals. Yet the myth and reality have been shaken by recent developments, as Oregon is increasingly known for its far right rebellions and debacles. Last year’s occupation of the Sugar Pine mine and the open carry rally in response to Obama’s visit to Roseburg after the Umpqua Community College shooting seem to lock into place in a narrative that includes the current insurrection in Malheur.”
Colleague Sasha Reid Ross has written an incisive review of the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife refuge over at CounterPunch– a timely and much-needed perspective on the situation from a vigorously left perspective. In recent conversations with activists and environmentalists about this phenomenon, there’s been a disturbing sense of paralysis, an overarching inability to articulate a clear response. Sasha gets that job done.
There are new laws coming down the pipeline that seem likely to actually bring to bear some of the radical land-use changes that the right-wing ideologues currently occupying Malheur are championing. While no environmentalist thinks it’s a good idea to sing the praises of the land-management practices of the Bureau of Land Management, the prospect of devolving these masses of public land to private ownership is a vision of a landscape gnawed bare by economic activity. The push to privatize the west is an ongoing project, which we can oppose by remembering that all of this land that we’re fighting over is Indian Land.