Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching – Frontmatter

The following is part of a series of posts converting to html the monkeywrenching tactics in Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching (3rd edition). See also the PDF of the book.


Wilderness needs no defense, only more defenders.

Standard Disclaimer

Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching is for entertainment purposes only. No one involved with the production of this book — the editors, contributors, artists, publisher, distributors, retailers, or anyone — encourages anyone to do any of the stupid, illegal things contained herein.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to the Third Edition (see below)
  2. Forward! by Edward Abbey
  3. Strategic Monkeywrenching
  4. The Future of Monkeywrenching
  5. Developments
    1. Tree Spiking
    2. Tree Pinning
    3. Ceramic Spikes
    4. Rock Spikes
    5. Plastic and Wood Pulp
    6. Survey Stakes
    7. Mining
    8. Powerlines
    9. Seismographic Lines
    10. Plugging Waste Discharge Pipes
    11. Grazing
  6. Roads and Tires
    1. Road Spiking
    2. Spikeboards and Nailboards
    3. Caltrops
    4. Other Tire Flattening Methods
    5. Snowmobiles
    6. Closing Roads
    7. Plugging Culverts
  7. Vehicles and Heavy Equipment
    1. Disabling Vehicles Outline
    2. Heavy Equipment
    3. Cutting Torch
    4. Burning Machinery
    5. Aircraft
    6. Vehicle Modifications
    7. Water and Big Yellow Machines
  8. Animal Defense
    1. Trap Lines
    2. Snares
    3. Coyote Getter
    4. Fence Cutting
  9. Miscellaneous Deviltry
    1. Urban Monkeywrenching
    2. Slingshots
    3. Condo Trashing
    4. Computer Sabotage
    5. Stink Bombs
    6. Smoke Bombs
    7. Jamming Locks
    8. Disrupting Illegal Activities
    9. Trash Return
    10. Mountain Bikes
  10. Propaganda
    1. Advanced Billboarding
    2. Billboard Trashing
    3. Billboard Revision
    4. Burning Billboards
    5. Paint Remover
    6. Posters and Silent Agitators
    7. Correcting Forest Service Signs
    8. Spray Paint Slogans
    9. Stencils
  11. Security
    1. Basic Security
    2. Military Movement
    3. Rules of Security
    4. Disposing of Evidence
    5. Avoiding Arrest
    6. Camouflage
    7. Tools of the Trade
    8. Radios and Communications Equipment
    9. Eyes of Night
    10. Tracking
    11. Car Camping
    12. Daily Routine
    13. Mental Conditioning
    14. Surveillance
    15. Counterintelligence
    16. Advanced Investigation Methods
    17. Police Undercover Operations
    18. Countersecurity
    19. Pursuit and Evasion
    20. Arrest
    21. Media Relations
    22. General Security Field Notes
  12. Epilogue: Marine Monkeywrenching

Introduction to the Third Edition

Ecodefense is a historical artifact. It be argued that it is the most controversial environmental book ever published; more importantly, though, it is a key exhibit in the legal history of freedom of press in the United States. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1791. It reads in part, Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. That enshrined freedom of the press and speech sets the United States of America apart from all other nations. No other country so jealously defends the right of its citizens to speak and publish controversial ideas.

Several years ago when Australia banned the importation and sale of Ecodefense, it was not possible for the United States to follow suit — because of the First Amendment. Instead, the United States government spent several million dollars, employed a small army of FBI agents, and entrapped a number of citizens in 1987-89 in an effort to suppress publication and distribution of Ecodefense. That attack on free speech and the freedom of the press glares like a pustulating boil in American history just as do the Alien and Sedition Acts, the Palmer Raids, and McCarthyism.

We at Abbzug Press believe that the Bill of Rights is like a set of muscles — if they aren’t exercised, they atrophy. Therefore, it is our patriotic duty to defend the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and publish a new Third Edition of Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching.

Efforts to suppress Ecodefense and to entrap its co-editor, Dave Foreman, have been well covered elsewhere and we will not go into them here. Nor will we here attempt to justify the practice or necessity of monkeywrenching. Edward Abbey’s Forward! and the first two chapters of this edition do that. Monkeywrenching is also justified in Ed Abbey’s novels The Monkey Wrench Gang and Hayduke Lives!, Howie Wolke’s Wilderness on the Rocks, Christopher Manes’s Green Rage, and, in greater detail, Dave Foreman’s Confessions of an Eco-Warrior.

We will here, however, rebut two myths about Ecodefense. First, it is widely believed that Ecodefense (or Abbey’s Monkey Wrench Gang) launched the practice of monkeywrenching. In fact, ecological sabotage was widespread before Ecodefense was first published in 1985 and even before The Monkey Wrench Gang was published in 1975.

The second myth is that Dave Foreman wrote Ecodefense. The first edition of Ecodefense was a compilation of articles and letters sent to the Earth First! Journal by dozens of individuals. This Third Edition has over two dozen major contributors and at least one hundred other contributors. In this edition, we have given aliases to credit all articles and significant field notes where the author did not offer her own alias. In the previous editions, Dave Foreman and Bill Haywood compiled, edited, and arranged the contributions. We have retained their names as editors for the Third Edition since it is largely based on the previous editions.

There are changes in the Third Edition, however. Some material deemed to be irrelevant or counterproductive has been dropped. Incorrect information has also been dropped. Much new information has been incorporated. Most of it was contributed between 1987 and 1989. A professional editor was retained to rewrite, copy edit, arrange, and otherwise clean up all of the text. Some previous material has been rearranged.

Edward Abbey and two other contributors, John Zaelit and Bill Turk, have died since the First Edition of Ecodefense. This Third Edition is dedicated to their memories and to the fierce green fire that burned in their eyes. They were heroes, defenders of their native land.

We thank the other defenders of the land who contributed to Ecodefense, though they must remain anonymous. It is their book.

When we began work on the Third Edition we asked Dave Foreman for any thoughts he might offer to today’s reader of Ecodefense. He responded:

Is your act a strategic one, or is it merely an inarticulate yell, conveying only rage, alienation, and despair? Monkeywrenchers must constantly ask themselves: 

Who is my audience? 

What is my message?

Will this deter destruction? 

Are there legal means not yet used?

Of course this Third Edition of Ecodefense, like those before it, is meant only to entertain. No one should take it seriously.

Matthew Lyon for Abbzug Press

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