Earth liberation

"Earth liberation" is an ideology founded by the radical environmental movement and was popularised by the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) as well as the Earth Liberation Army (ELA) in the 1990s.


Earth liberation has no universal understanding as a concept, as it is much considered to be a part of radical environmentalism, or as a militant offshoot, favouring instead radical and revolutionary environmentalism.[1]

As a movement

Earth liberationists reject the mainstream environmental movement and include a diversity of individuals with a variety of different ideologies as well as theories. Activists include animal liberationists, anti-capitalists, green anarchists, deep ecologists, eco-feminists and anti-globalisationists.[2] They are notably also within the ELF and ELA, with others from the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Class War.[3]

A primary concern is making long lasting, systemic change, by overturning contemporary social and ecological conditions, as part of an earth liberation movement, similar to the aims of the animal liberation movement.[1]

Earth Liberation Movement (ELM): is a free speech, unity, love movement which seeks unification of the human race and the liberation of Earth and its inhabitants from deliberate annihilation.


  1. ^ a b Bron Taylor, Best, Steven and Best & Nocella. Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defense of the Earth, Lantern Books, 2006, p.4 & 5
  2. ^ Manes, Christopher, 1990. Green Rage: Radical Environmentalism and the Unmaking of Civilization, Boston: Little, Brown and Co.
  3. ^ Quoting "Burn the Rich", popular Class War slogan. House Fires With a Message in the Northwest, The New York Times, March 3rd 2008.
Craig Rosebraugh

Craig Rosebraugh is a writer, filmmaker and activist advocating for political and social justice, and environmental and animal protection.

Darren Thurston

Darren Todd Thurston (born c. 1970) is a Canadian former animal rights activist.

In July 2006, Thurston pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy and related arson charges that occurred from 1996 through 2001 in Oregon and four other U.S. states, and which were claimed in the name of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). The FBI arrested Thurston and 10 other members of a west coast-based animal rights and environmentalist organization that the FBI and media called "The Family." The arrests were made as part of the FBI's Operation Backfire.Thurston was sentenced in May 2007 to 37 months in prison in exchange for his cooperation with the investigation.

Earth Liberation Army

The Earth Liberation Army (ELA), similar to the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), is the collective name for anonymous and autonomous individuals or groups that use "economic sabotage and guerrilla warfare to stop the exploitation and destruction of the natural environment", commonly known as ecotage or monkeywrenching. The name was first used in Canada, in 1995, which was the first Earth liberation direct action in North America, three years after the ELF had been founded in England. The ELA is also a leaderless movement, although in contrast to the ELF, the first group did not publish any guidelines. The ELA are considered to be "eco-terrorists" by governments, and are also known to also be active in the United States (see North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office).

Earth Liberation Front

The Earth Liberation Front (ELF), also known as "Elves" or "The Elves", is the collective name for autonomous individuals or covert cells who, according to the ELF Press Office, use "economic sabotage and guerrilla warfare to stop the exploitation and destruction of the environment".

The ELF was founded in Brighton in the United Kingdom in 1992 and spread to the rest of Europe by 1994. It is now an international organization with actions reported in 17 countries and is widely regarded as descending from Animal Liberation Front because of the relationship and cooperation between the two movements. Using the same leaderless resistance model, as well as similar guidelines to the ALF, sympathizers say that it is an eco-defense group dedicated to taking the profit motive out of environmental destruction by causing economic damage to businesses through the use of property damage.The ELF was classified as the top "domestic terror" threat in the United States by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in March 2001, and its members classified as eco-terrorists. On the lack of deaths from ELF attacks, the FBI's deputy assistant director for counterterrorism has said, "I think we're lucky. Once you set one of these fires they can go way out of control." The name came to public prominence when they were featured on the television show 60 Minutes in 2005. The group was further highlighted in the 2011 Academy Award nominated documentary If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front.

Earth Liberation Front Press Office

The North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office (NAELFPO or ELFPO) is a legal, above-ground news service dedicated to publicizing the direct action of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF).

The Press Office receives anonymous communiques from the ELF and distributes the political and social motives behind the covert and underground cells to the mass media and public.NAELFPO was founded in 1999 by Craig Rosebraugh and Leslie James Pickering. It was founded in Portland, Oregon, "to work to explain the importance and necessity of clandestine guerrilla action in a revolutionary movement to liberate the Earth from the stranglehold of the system."

Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network

The Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network (ELPSN), also known as Spirit of Freedom, is a network to provide information on people imprisoned for direct action relating to campaigns on Environmental and other issues. It includes; earth liberationists, animal liberationists, those fighting on anti-war, anti-nuclear and peace issues, indigenous struggles, anti-fascism, land rights, ploughshares and more.

Eric McDavid

Eric McDavid (born October 7, 1977) is an American green anarchist who was convicted of conspiring to use fire or explosives to damage corporate and government property. After he spent eight years and 360 days in prison, his conviction was overturned when it became known the FBI had failed to disclose potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense. While U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott has called McDavid the first person in the U.S. to be prosecuted on Earth Liberation Front (ELF)-related charges, the trial revealed that McDavid's group had not decided whether or not to claim the planned actions in the name of the ELF. He was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. On January 8, 2015 a federal judge ordered McDavid released from custody after the prosecution conceded that it had withheld thousands of pages of evidence.

Green Scare

The Green Scare is legal action by the US government against the radical environmental movement. It alludes to the Red Scares, periods of fear over communist infiltration of US society.

The term was popularized by environmental activists. It is first known to have appeared in 2002 in the wake of the February 12 congressional hearings titled "The Threat of Eco-Terrorism", which discussed groups including the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). The spring edition of the prisoner support zine Spirit of Freedom defined the term as "the tactics that the US government and all their tentacles (FBI, IRS, BATF, Joint Terrorism Task Forces, local police, the court system) are using to attack the ELF/ALF and specifically those who publicly support them."

The term has been used by activists to describe a sweep of arrests, convictions and grand jury indictments of ELF and ALF operatives on charges relating to acts of property damage, conspiracy, arson and use of destructive devices.

Leaderless resistance

Leaderless resistance, or phantom cell structure, is a social resistance strategy in which small, independent groups (covert cells), or individuals (a solo cell is called a "Lone Wolf"), challenge an established institution such as a law, economic system, social order, or government. Leaderless resistance can encompass anything from non-violent protest and civil disobedience to vandalism, terrorism, and other violent activity.

Leaderless cells lack vertical command links and so operate without hierarchical command, but they have a common goal that links them to the social movement from which their ideology was learned.Leaderless resistance is simple and difficult to stamp out. It has been employed by a wide range of movements, including animal-liberation, radical environmentalist, anti-abortion, military invasion resistance, colonialism resistance, terrorist, and hate groups.

Marius Mason

Marius Mason (born January 26, 1962) is an American anarchist who in 2009 was sentenced to 22 years in prison after admitting 13 counts of arson and property damage amounting to US$4 million. Mason, a member of the Earth Liberation Front, was prosecuted for a 1999 attack on a building at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, that caused more than US$1 million in damage, undertaken as a protest against research into genetically modified crops. A further US$3 million in damage included attacks on homes under construction, and on boats owned by a mink farmer.Supporters claim that this case represents a form of political persecution, as part of the Green Scare phenomenon, when an overlong sentence is given to an individual who committed crimes against property.Around July, 2014, Marius self-identified with the gender identity of a man.

Operation Backfire (FBI)

Operation Backfire is a multi-agency criminal investigation, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), into destructive acts in the name of animal rights and environmental causes in the United States described as eco-terrorism by the FBI. The operation resulted in convictions and imprisonment of a number of domestic terrorists, many of which were members of the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front.

Radical environmentalism

Radical environmentalism is a grassroots branch of the larger environmental movement that emerged from an ecocentrism-based frustration with the co-option of mainstream environmentalism. It is the extremist ideology behind the radical environmental movement.

Rod Coronado

Rodney Adam Coronado (born July 3, 1966) is a Native American (Pascua Yaqui) eco-anarchist and animal rights activist. He is an advocate and former activist for the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and a spokesperson for the Earth Liberation Front. He was a crew member of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and a member of the editorial collective of the Earth First! Journal. Coronado was jailed in 1995 in connection with an arson attack on research facilities at Michigan State University, which caused $125,000 worth of damage and destroyed 32 years of research data.

In 2006, while imprisoned for felony conspiracy and awaiting trial on further charges, Coronado expressed a change in his personal philosophy inspired by fatherhood. In an open letter, he wrote, "Don't ask me how to burn down a building. Ask me how to grow watermelons or how to explain nature to a child," explaining that he wants to be remembered, not as a "man of destruction but [as] a human believer in peace and love for all." He was released on probation in December 2008, but was imprisoned again for four months in August 2010 for accepting a "friend request" on Facebook from an environmental activist, Mike Roselle, which was deemed a violation of his probation.

Steven Best

Steven Best (born December 1955) is an American author, total liberation advocate, and associate professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is the co-founder of the Animal Liberation Press Office in North America and is known also for his views on the use of violence to protect animal rights. He came to public attention in 2005, when the British Home Office told him it intended to use counter-terrorist measures adopted in light of the July 2005 London bombings to prevent him from addressing an animal rights rally in the UK.

Tre Arrow

Tre Arrow (born Michael Scarpitti in 1974) is a green anarchist who gained prominence in the U.S. state of Oregon in the late 1990s and early 2000s for his environmental activism, bid for Congress as a Pacific Green Party candidate, and then for his arrest and later conviction for committing acts of arson on cement and logging trucks. He unsuccessfully sought political asylum in Canada, and was extradited to Portland, Oregon, on February 29, 2008, to face 14 counts of arson and conspiracy. These actions were claimed as acts of protest by the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). On June 3, 2008, Arrow pleaded guilty to 2 counts of arson and was sentenced with 78 months in prison. He was released to a halfway house in 2009.

University of Washington firebombing incident

The University of Washington firebombing incident was an arson which took place in the early morning hours of May 21, 2001 when a firebomb was set off at Merrill Hall, a part of the University of Washington's Center for Urban Horticulture, causing an estimated $1.5 to $4.1 million in damages. By 2012 four of five accused conspirators behind the attack admitted their guilt in plea bargains. A fifth committed suicide in federal detention while awaiting trial.

William Cottrell

William Jensen "Billy" Cottrell (born 1980) is a former Ph.D. candidate at the California Institute of Technology who was convicted in April 2005 of conspiracy associated with the destruction of eight sport utility vehicles and a Hummer dealership in the name of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). He was sentenced to eight years in federal prison on conspiracy charges and ordered to pay $3.5 million in restitution. His lawyers, however, have appealed the verdict and sentence.

He was released August 16, 2011.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.