* Former spokesman for the Earth Liberation Front
* “Violence is a necessary element of an oppressive struggle.”
Leslie James Pickering was a spokesman for the eco-terrorist group Earth Liberation Front (ELF) from 1997 until 2002. The ELF exhorts its supporters “to inflict economic damage on those profiting from the destruction and exploitation of the natural environment,” and ELF members use arson and other violent means to hamper corporations and individuals they believe are “harming” or “raping” the environment. The ELF boasts that since 1997, its cells “have carried out dozens of actions resulting in close to $100 million in damages.”
“Violence is a necessary element of an oppressive struggle,” says Pickering. “We can lobby and petition and hold signs until the cows come home, and it’s not going to make a difference whatsoever. We need to get out there and fight our wars, the same way they fight their wars [i.e., violently].” Pickering has assisted in the production of a series of videotapes that the ELF uses as a recruiting tool. The tapes teach viewers how to make fire bombs and how to organize ELF cells across the country. “Development arsons are definitely signs of ELF activity,” Pickering has proudly stated. “With the spread of ELF activity so wide, in different areas, you have to keep your eyes open.”
The ELF now keeps its leadership anonymous, and it is unknown whether or not Pickering is still one of its leaders.