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For those who are unfamiliar with the name or case of Tim DeChristopher, the following diaries collectively will bring you up to speed. (Two were kindly  rescued!)

In order of posting:

Holiday oil and gas sale & civil disobedience

Remember This Name: Tim DeChristopher (UpdateX6)

Thank You Tim DeChristopher!

Utah public land saved by "civil disobedience" (with Poll)

More information, including how to help, follows.

After I posted, I found the following diary, with some overlap:

Charges Will Be Announced Today Against DeChristopher - Amy Goodman Interview Too!, by Clifflyon

New Report

On Saturday, as mentioned in the Remember Tim DeChristopher diary, an AP story by Paul Foy made its way around the media in full or excerpted form. A new story with some additional info, perspective and responses by DeChristopher was written by Clayton Norlen of the Deseret News (a Salt lake City paper):

Activist defends his lease tactics: U.S. attorney is weighing whether to bring charges

Otherwise, the traditional media seems to have gone dark on this story. One blogger I read predicted that after the initial report it would be blacked out (see block quote below).

Amy Goodman/Democracy Now! Interviews DeChristopher

Democracy Now! story and interview transcript

Democracy Now! DeChristopher Interview (MP3) (spliced out of the hour-long program)

Tim's Statement

Why I Disrupted a Fraudulent Auction

I have been an environmentalist for most of my life. I have marched, held signs, written letters and spoken to my Congressman. I have built trails and removed invasive species in National Parks. I have educated friends on climate change and donated to a dozen different groups. Countless others have done all these same things for decades in defense of our wilderness and a livable future.

It hasn’t worked. Even with a new administration, we are not on track for a livable future. This has been made clear by James Hanson, Bill McKibben, Al Gore and many others. The legitimate pathways to power have not provided us with the ability to defend the survival of our civilization. Yesterday I decided that the crisis facing us requires more critical action than has been taken in the past...



As in all of these grassroots efforts, every little bit counts. The key is simply to contribute to the solution...

  1. Donate to his defense fund here. Utah Politics reports that $1,100 has been raised, though it's unclear when that count was achieved.
  1. Thank Tim DeChristopher here. Send him gratitude, encouragement, advice, whatever.
  1. As Moribund Republic said on

Something real in the way of defense must happen. If Tim gets punished and stranded, then it will mean nothing.

Two things will happen now, a) the action will be ignored and under reported in the mainstream media.

b) Tim will be defined as an eco terrorist by the mainstream media.

How this plays out will be very instructive to progressives. Don’t blow it.

Don't let this happen. It's up to us. Stay on top of this story and spread the word and contact news organizations to keep this story alive. The more press the better. It's a great example of effective modern civil disobedience and the traditional media will no doubt be loathe to cover it. Here's a media contact list from a preivous media bomb diary.

4)Consider sending a letter to the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA). SUWA and NDRC mounted a lawsuit against the BLM concerning the pending sale, and later arrived at an agreement to hold off on sales concerning about half of the original ~350K acres on the block. All good. However, SUWA did not have Tim's back when he stepped up to the plate last. I sent the following e-mail:

To the staff and board of SUWA,

I am a Salt Lake City resident and southern Utah enthusiast and have always admired SUWA. I am grateful to SUWA and the NDRC for their lawsuit and agreement with the BLM. I was greatly disappointed, however, to read the following statement concerning Tim DeChrisopher's action on Friday, 12/19, posted on Planetsave:

"An attorney for Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Stephen Bloch, said the incident was a disservice to, and a huge distraction from, the peaceful protest that took place outside the building."

Tim DeChristopher's act was perhaps the greatest example of creative, effective modern civil disobedience we have had in some time. David Thoreau and Edward Abbey would be proud. At great personal risk, he disrupted the sale of and deferred the fate on many important parcels. In other cases, he increased the cost for those who intend to use public lands for personal profit.

Direct Action and Civil Disobedience are incredibly important in a world faced with severe problems in every sphere of our lives. Incrementalism alone is not enough. Individuals and groups must be willing to take risks and make a stand. Sometimes breaking the law, without harming others, is what is needed to draw attention and question the justice of a land that allows certain injustices to occur. All of the most difficult movements have ultimately employed and benefitted from these tactics. Unfortunately, many such actions are ill-conceived and thus ineffective or counter-productive. DeChristopher's act was nonviolent, did not harm or offend the general public and effective as means of interfering with an event that should not have taken place.

Several diaries about Tim DeChristopher have been written on DailyKos and I recommend that the staff and board of SUWA read them all read them.

<snip; links to diaries mentioned in intro>

It would have been better had Mr. Bloch said nothing at all. I believe he owes Mr. DeChristopher a public apology.

Instead, SUWA and the NDRC owe Mr. Bloch their gratitude. They ought to do everything they can to assist Mr. DeChristopher as his personal story develops, including making contributions for his legal defense fund at:

I hope SUWA can see fit to keep this story in the news and do right by Tim DeChristopher along the way.

Originally posted to Words In Action on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 10:45 AM PST.


Civil Disobedience is

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