Union takes page from Greenpeace book

By Gord Gekko
web posted August 1997

"They always figure that they're holier than thou when they're doing it to other people. They come from other countries and it's a summertime job. In the meantime, they wreak havoc on the people and communities in B.C. Maybe now we can put them out of work."

Few things give me more pleasure in life than seeing the bad guys get jammed with their own tactics. In July one group of workers from British Columbia finally had enough of Greenpeace's tactics against them and the forestry industry and decided to strike back. While watching various media sources I saw the story wasn't covered very well so here's my version of it.

Back in June Greenpeace used one of their ships to board a log barge, while at roughly the same time another cell of the group blockaded a road near Bella Coola, British Columbia. A logging company and its workers to get to the work site used the road The blockade meant workers couldn't earn their livelihood.

On July 2 the members of the Industrial, Wood and Allied Workers of Canada, Local 1-71 had had enough.

On that day Greenpeace had called a press conference to announce that they were sending a ship up to Alaska to protest the oil industry, but instead found themselves on the wrong side of a blockade. IWA-Canada members had set up a log boom around two Greenpeace ships and an information picket on dock. To add to Greenpeace's problems a legally required ship's pilot, needed by large ships in unfamiliar waters, refused to cross the picket line.

The union declared that it planned to maintain the picket line until woodworkers were paid for wages lost during anti-logging protests earlier this summer.

In an attempt to avoid some bad press and to resolve the problem, Greenpeace asked for a meeting with the IWA but Dave Haggard, national president of the union refused.

"I don't return calls to environmental terrorists," he said. "They know the conditions that we're prepared to meet with them and sit down and talk to them and discuss their issues and ours.

"And we haven't been instructed by anybody in our office or by our members to change that position and we don't intend to."

Over the next few days support began to grow for the forestry workers blockade, even to the point that New Democrat British Columbia premier Glenn Clark weighed in, saying that Greenpeace were "eco-terrorists" and enemies of British Columbia.

Unfortunately for the union, their conditions for the release of the ships were never met. On July 4 the union decided to allow the smaller of the two ships out of the log boom, but the larger ship managed to escape behind the smaller.

The IWA says that the battle isn't over. Some members have called for the union to issue a "hot edict" against the environmental group so that other union workers would boycott Greenpeace by refusing to provide goods or services to the organization. In the past Greenpeace has called for a boycott of B.C. forest products to protest the province's logging practices.

The union has also filed a claim in B.C. Supreme Court seeking damages of nearly $121 000 for lost wages for workers affected by a blockade on King Island.

The suit names Greenpeace, environmentalist Tamara Stark and two Nuxalk natives who took part in the protest.

Twenty-four people Greenpeace members were arrested at the blockade site last month after stopping Interfor logging crews from working for 20 days.

With the collapse of Marxism, environmentalism has become the new refuge of socialist thinking. The environment is a great way to advance a political agenda that favors central planning and an intrusive government. What better way to control someone's property than to subordinate one's private property rights to environmental concerns.
Rush Limbaugh,
The Way Things Ought to Be

"If they decide and stop our members from working and it costs our members wages and benefits then we're going to go to the courts and get our members money," said Darrel Wong, president of IWA Local 1-71.

The local, which represents mainly coastal loggers, filed suit last month seeking more than $42 000 for a blockade in May at Roderick Island, about 60 kilometres northwest of King Island.

"Our position very clearly is that our members are being used as the meat in the sandwich, so to speak," Wong said. He described the blockades as economic terrorism against his members.

The union also says they will use their labour contacts around the world to spread word how workers are affected by environmental blockades and boycotts. The IWA says groups like Greenpeace rely on support from workers in European countries by spreading misinformation about logging in British Columbia.

"I think that workers in those countries might think twice about giving their hard-earned money to these environmental radicals if they knew the truth about the harm they are doing to workers in this country," said Haggard.

While the union typically is more concerned about its own members, preferring to speak on the effects of lost wages and benefits, they did highlight a several points which deserve to be discussed more when the environmental movement is considered.

The idea world of environmentalists is not 20th century Western civilization; it is a Garden of Eden, a world with no human intervention in nature, a world without innovation or change, a world without effort, a world where survival is somehow guaranteed, a world where man has mystically merged with the "environment."
Dr. Michael S. Berliner,
Environmentalists: The New Life Haters

Environmentalists do not base their arguments on facts

Often times the difference between religious zealots and environmentalists is the ideology. While there is nothing wrong being zealous about your convictions, there is always the danger of becoming blinded to the fact that there is no problem, or the problem has been solved, and you are not needed anymore.

The environment has taken it upside the head every now and then, but here is a fact that cannot be disputed. There are more trees now then there were 500 years ago. Forest management by humans (largely since the turn of the century) has been responsible for a tremendous increase in the amount of trees in North America. Environmentalists are right when they point out some problems and ask for a correction, but they have largely been made redundant by the very changes they asked for.

I couldn't find similar numbers for Canada, but while researching for some background information I came across an interesting fact. According to the United States Forestry Service, annual timber growth in the U.S. now exceeds harvest by 37 per cent. Annual growth has exceeded harvest every year year since 1952.

According to the authors of Eco-Sanity, across the temperate regions of the world; North America, Europe and parts of Asia, there has been very little net change in the level of wooded area.

Indeed, even the former founder and head of Greenpeace, Dr. Patrick Moore states that "Over 50 per cent, or about 225 000 000 hectares of Canada's land area are still covered with the original forest. (my italics - G.G.) This is an area five times the entire country of Sweden. In British Columbia, the Forest Alliance has developed 21 Principles of Sustainable Forestry and these have been adopted by all the major forestry companies. "

British Columbia even has a law on the books which requires that every area that is harvested must be re-planted. Eco-Sanity states that B.C.'s Ministry of Forest has conducted research which shows that "Canada's second growth forest's support tree species diversity as high or higher than existed in the old growth forests they replace."

This is a fact: Forests are in no danger in British Columbia.

Greenpeace, and similar movements, are opposed to capitalism and humanity

The environmentalist movement often reminds me of Marxism. Like your average communist, if you question an environmentalist you will usually find a Medievalist underneath. Both believe that humanity has moved "away" from nature. While communists believe this has taken humanity away from producing goods that directly benefit the producer, environmentalists believe that humanity is no longer a member of nature. Some environmentalists even believe that humanity is a cancer.

Environmental groups are anti-capitalist and ultimately anti-human.

Nature, say many environmentalists, has a value outside of humanity. It is something to be cherished and protected. From whom? From humanity. Why? Because the environment has a value by its very nature, when humanity intrudes we are destroying that value. We, say the environmentalist movement, are pillagers of Gaia. Humanity, formally a part of nature, is now a rot, an infestation, because we change the environment instead of worshipping it for its own sake.

For man to evolve he must change and adapt his surroundings, ultimately to ensure his survival. Through the use of a rational mind, manifesting itself in in the use of tools like capitalism to ensure that survival, man necessarily must change the environment. Nature then, actually gains a value because man uses it.

The environmentalist movement seeks to stop humans from changing their environment, thereby making them anti-human.

In attempting to stop humanity from surviving, environmentalism proves itself as a movement which values nature over humanity, valuing a tree over what can be done with that tree.

Capitalism is the tool of change, and resources are the driving force of that tool. By arguing against the rational use of a value to ensure the survival of humanity, environmentalists' also become opponents of capitalism.

A call to action for business and workers

While one can question the motives of the members of IWA-Canada, I personally believe they are more interested in protecting themselves then the philosophical values I've touched upon, they have performed a valuable service. Their actions are a walk-up call to all workers and businesses under siege by environmentalists.

Both groups must realize that the environmental movement is not their friend. Environmentalism's core belief is revolves around the idea humanity is destroying the value of nature by using it. Capitalism, lifeblood both to business and worker, is under attack by these life-haters. Environmentalists attack your very method of survival.

Both, particularly business, must stop supporting the environmentalist movement by pandering to the public with environmental initiatives. These initiatives sustain the enemy and weaken the cause of rationalism and capitalism. Every point conceded to someone who is working to ultimately end your method of survival is a gift to them. Do not support your enemies!

Explain your side. This is admittedly difficult to do. The media is offensively ignorant when it comes to being able to judge the claims of environmentalists. Despite what they claim, it is the bad news which journalists find seductive. Has the media ever told you that a majority of scientists don't buy the greenhouse effect theory? Has the media ever told you where the money that scientists use to promote their apocalyptic views comes from? Has the media even bothered to tell you what the qualifications of these 'experts' are? You would be surprised at some of what the media hasn't told you.

None-the-less, our side must start explaining our core values to more people. We must point out the value of our work and what it ultimately means. Conversely, the public desperately needs an education in what the real beliefs of groups like Greenpeace are. Canadians contribute millions to environmentalist groups each year without realizing what it is that they are supporting. I am convinced that if more Canadians knew more about the beliefs of both sides, we would be the victors. No one rationally chooses death over life.

And maybe adopting some of the tactics of IWA-Canada might not be a bad idea either. Press attention (spotty though) all over the world focused in on the stand-off. Perhaps by utilizing non-violent protest of environmentalist groups, and making their jobs difficult, we can begin to win the propaganda war with rational arguments.

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