Behind the Quebec Demonstrations

April 24, 2001

By Tom DeWeese

While George W. Bush and other world leaders went about their business to create a free trade zone throughout North and South America, the media focused on the demonstrators in the streets. Having achieved their attention-getting goal, they left before the Quebec conference ended.

It is apparent from comments by George W. Bush that he is unclear as to who these demonstrators were. He called the demonstrators “isolationists.” In fact, they are rabid environmentalists and unionists who see these summits as an opportunity to infect these trade pacts with their radical environmental ideologies. At the same time, labor unions use the opportunity to push for the stifling of labor practices in other nations. This one-two punch of environmentalism and labor demands would sound the death knell of free trade anywhere.

These conferences, however, are not about free trade. One doesn’t need a truck trailer full of regulations to explain or achieve free trade. One simply knocks down the barriers and allows commerce to take place. No protections for those who venture into unknown and dangerous trade waters. No subsidies for those who make bad deals. No regulations to make the playing field “fair.” Such risks come with real free trade. Consequently it regulates itself. It’s called a free market.

This pact, like the World Trade Organization, does the opposite. It creates the “rules of engagement” for commerce between nations. It sets up elaborate environmental regulations and tax incentives for those who want to play in a well-protected game. The pact stands as little more than a world regulator of the market. So why the protests? And who were those rabble-rousers? These are questions the mainstream media neglects.

For the most part the demonstrators were radical environmentalists. They seek to use the pact as their own tool to inflict world-wide restrictions on industry that will drive up costs and decrease production. The regulations they demand are based on the same flawed science that’s driving the global warming scare.

However, producing a thousand demonstrators takes a lot of coordination and money. Who’s behind such a massive undertaking? Who funds it? For at least part of the answer take a trip on the information superhighway to a web page called There you will find the culprits who trained many of the demonstrators and helped plan much of the well-organized street action. The Ruckus Society is connected to the nation’s most radical environmental terrorist group, Earth First!

The Ruckus Society has been training thousands to stir up trouble over the past several years. Ruckus alumni initially tested their disruption techniques in small demonstrations in rural areas of the nation. Their actions were usually directed toward logging companies and ranchers. There is evidence that Ruckus-trained terrorists were responsible for the 1997 attack on the district offices of former Congressman Frank Riggs when a gang of Earth Firsters! swarmed into the office carrying a 400 pound tree trunk to which they chained themselves in order to delay arrest.

A US News and World Report article (May 12, 1997) noted that, “Despite the focus on ‘action’ this camp is really not about saving one tree at a time. It’s about mass media and public images.” One of the leaders of The Ruckus Society is Mike Roselle, an Earth First radical and self-proclaimed revolutionary who, in 1995, said of his radical environmentalism, “This is Jihad, pal. There are no innocent bystanders, because in these desperate hours, bystanders are not innocent. We’ll broaden our theater of conflict.” As of 1995, Roselle claimed to have trained over 1000 American and Canadian youth to commit illegal acts through “civil disobedience.” In 1999, Ruckus was the main force behind the WTO riots in Seattle.

Financial records of media mogul Ted Turner’s “Turner Foundation” show hundreds of thousands of dollars going into the coffers of Earth First! front groups which undoubtedly have made their way into the training schools of The Ruckus Society, and consequently effected the streets of Seattle. An article in the March 20, 1997 Missoula Independent, (a pro-Earth First! publication in Montana), Ted Turner is referred to as “Daddy Greenbucks.” The article quotes Mike Roselle giving credit to Turner and his former wife, Jane Fonda, for funding the Ruckus Society’s Action Camps.

In 1994 and 1995, Turner gave $85,000 to the Rainforest Action Network, one of the major players in the Seattle disturbances. Also in 1994, Turner gave at least $20,000 to The Ecology Center. Other Earth First! related groups receiving Turner funds include The Wildlands Project ($15,000), Road Rip Road Removal Implementation Project ($3,000) Biodiversity Legal Foundation ($5,000), Forest Guardians ($25,000), and at least 12 more in 1994 alone. After 1995, The Turner Foundation stopped listing the amount of donations it gives. Thankfully, Turner’s communications empire been taken away from him by its new owners, but he still has billions to spare.

Though the Summit of the America’s pact and the WTO stand as international threats to American industry, agriculture, and ranching, the continued danger is an energized radical environmental movement that now sees street action as an immediate way to enforce policy that cannot be won at the ballot box.

Tom DeWeese
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Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.