Last night I saw Dean Kuipers read from and talk about his new book, Operation Bite Back: Rod Coronado’s War to Save American Wilderness at Diesel Books in Oakland.
So, I haven’t read the book yet, and when I do, I’ll review it for Ampersand. But, I wanted to shout out about it because Dean’s talk was so great.
The book is essentially the story of Rod Coronado’s life in activism, written from Dean’s experience covering Rod’s actions and animal/environmental activism for years as a reporter with the LA Times.
During his talk, Dean gave a brief overview of how the government has used different legislation such as the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, the Patriot Act, and Terrorism Sentencing Enhancement, how those pieces of legistlation are related and how they have developed and worked over time, using Rod’s experience as an example. Dean is knowledgeable and talked about how this legislation has influenced the “Green Scare” cases. In his talk, Dean said that he felt that this has had a chilling effect on activism, and that mostly experienced activists have attempted to steer clear of actions that could be covered by these laws, while the legisltaion has primarily served to sweep up younger, less experienced activists who are looking for an outlet for their frustrations. Dean also discussed often controversial definition of “non-violent direct action,” and in general did a great job of navigating and discussing objectively a lot of the complex issues – is direct action effective? do animal releases or arsons help animals? is media coverage of activism worth it?