Konformist: Julia "Butterfly" Hill: Konformist of the Year 1999
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Editor, The Konformist
Julia "Butterfly" Hill
Konformist of the Year 1999
Sometimes, the most powerful word that can be said is "no." Julia
"Butterfly" Hill has been showing her power for over a year now.
While many so called "rebels" and "mischief-makers" have proven how daring
they are by sitting their duffs in front of a computer and printing frivolous
internet zines, Julia Hill has tried something a little different: she's sit
her duff in a tree.
More specifically, since December 10, 1997, she has sit in the Redwood tree
known as Luna the Stafford Giant, an act of determined civil disobedience.
Her sit-in is approaching 16 months, protecting a tree (and surrounding
trees) threatened by Pacific Lumber and the Maxxam corporation, run by
corporate raider and financial swindler Charles Hurwitz.
Julia Hill is also a member of Earth First!, the passionate environmental
organization regularly labeled a "terrorist" organization by the mainstream
media over dubious at best allegations that they were involved in spiking
trees. That such a "terrorist" organization regularly engages in non-violent
acts of civil disobedience seems to fly in the face of the charge. Thanks
primarily to her sit-in (by far the longest in history), Earth First! has
finally been getting some positive media coverage, as they most well deserve.
An examination of the campaign against Earth First!, which includes the still
controversial bombing of Judi Bari and the botched investigation which
followed, proves it to be an echo of the COINTELPRO campaign of the sixties
on waged against groups the FBI deemed as "subversives." What Julia Hill has
helped prove is that she and her kind are a threat to no one but big
korporations that want to plunder for profit. Indeed, Hill's campaign has
opened the eyes of many in groups that would be normally suspicious of those
associated with her cause, such as those in the Patriot/Militia movement.
When all the frivolous ideological values are removed, Earth First! and the
Patriot community are one and the same: groups of dedicated people who value
the land, and do not like how the establishment, both government and business
(which is one and the same), is stealing it from the rest of us in the name
of mammon. As a symbol of uniting different causes, Hill deserves
But beyond the symbolic, Julia Hill deserves to be admired for the values she
embraces. Taking a page from Gandhi and Martin Luther King, she has proven
that the greatest threat to elites is not war, but peace. The not-so-big
secret is that the government LOVES violent anti-authority types, as they
more effectively demonize dissent than any speech by establishment
mouthpieces can. If violent anti-authority types don't exist, then the
authorities are happy to manufacture them, which very likely is what is
really behind the Oklahoma City bombing and the Unabomber. To the
establishment, there is nothing more threatening than a Julia Hill, a person
who turns rebellion in an idealistic, moral cause.
The civil rights movement rightfully celebrates heroes like Martin Luther
King and Malcolm X, men who spoke the ideas that will influence millions for
generations to come. But many consider the true spark for the civil rights
movement the act of Rosa Parks, the woman who said "no" when told to get off
her seat. From that one act, an entire social revolution was started. Julia
"Butterfly" Hill has waged the greatest act of civil disobedience since Ms.
Parks, and with that act, another revolution may well be sparked.
Perhaps the most telling victory for Julia is not that she has chosen to stay
in the tree for so long, but that the authorities have LET her stay up there.
As anyone aware of the Humboldt County's vicious methods at dealing with
anti-logging demonstrators (including swabbing eyes with pepper spray) proves
they have little moral qualms in using the iron fist of the law at full
force. What has stopped them this time is most certainly not morality: it is
logic, namely that the outrage caused by attacking a peaceful woman sitting
in a tree is more trouble than it is worth. Instead, they have let her
merely sit, hoping that eventually Hill's willpower would not crack. So far,
she has withstood a scorching summer and El Nino, and seems to be little
fazed. If this is a game of chicken, it'd be a sucker's bet to place money
against Juy with the passion it deserves. Keep it going, Julia.
We salute you.
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