Anarchist Shawn Wilbur on the Malheur refuge occupation Reply

I don’t personally have a dog in this fight. I sympathize with anyone who is in revolt against the U.S. federal system, left, right, or center. Other than that, it’s none of my business how Oregonians organize their own economy or approach to ecological issues.

Here’s another piece on this topic by “anti-fascist” Alexander Reid Ross.

Like I said, I don’t begrudge anyone their perspective on this topic, though I do wish these circles would show as much interest in overthrowing the U.S. empire as they do in opposing “the fascists” (whoever they are).

By Shawn Wilbur

Libertarian Labyrinth

I don’t do a lot of current events commentary here, but there are occasions where it seems both useful and necessary. What follows is notes drawn from my responses to the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, outside Burns, OR. They range from quips to more extended analysis and draw on my family connections to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, including a stint living on refuges much like Malheur in my extreme youth. I have tried not to rely on information that is not available elsewhere online.

I’m posting the material because it has garnered interest on social media, but also because I think that the question of anarchist alternatives to the federal lands is one worth taking up. An extension of my C4SS comments on “mutual extrication” and the “gift economy of property” is already in the works.


The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and all the problems of Harney County, are fifty miles from the middle of nowhere, but the issues that are really driving the conflict are the sort of things that we can examine much closer to home. Nearly all of us have experienced uncertain climate conditions and many of us have had very recent occasions to think about floodwater management. Given the very slow acceptance of decentralized methods of flood and storm-water management, I expect most of us think of these things as a responsibility of the government, when we think of the responsibility at all. Most of us don’t have to go too far to find clear evidence of the massive public works projects that have made agriculture and grazing possible in its present forms, but we also don’t have to go far to see clear evidence of the failures and limitations of our resource-management efforts to date. Agencies like BLM and USFWS have seldom sacrificed commercial interests to environmental ones, and when they have opposed immediate commercial interests, it has almost always been in the interest of preserving them in the long term.

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