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writing for godot

BUNDYmentalism: The Redneck Rebellion Is About Privatization

Written by Bob Maschi   
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 03:58
The Redneck Rebellion Is About Privatization
By Bob Maschi

As most of the left sits back, passively taking all the pollution, poverty and war being thrown at us, the far right is in open rebellion. They are not protesting homelessness, or war, or crappy schools or the destruction of our environment. They began by protesting for the right of a well-off rancher to use land that belongs to all of us for his own, personal profit.

A Nevada rancher named Bundy (not to be confused with Al Bundy from the sitcom Married with Children—though that would be an understandable error), had been grazing his cattle on federal/public land for a couple decades without bothering to pay for it. When agents of a fairly small federal agency (Bureau of Land Management or BLM, which has fewer than 12,000 employees watching over 250,000,000 acres—roughly just one person for every 20,000 acres) began rounding up his trespassing cattle (moooove…), rancher Bundy called on armed, right-wing militias to challenge them.

Faced with this armed revolt, the government agents hoofed it away.

Soon after the government backed down, a new revolt opened up in neighboring Utah where dozens of people, (one of them Bundy’s son) invaded a sensitive area of archaeological significance and spiritual importance to Native Americans. The area had been open to foot traffic. But that wasn’t enough for these brave patriots (some of them armed). They wanted to be able to ride their all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on that particular bit of property.

In Utah, one protester carried a sign (unusual in that it lacked any significant typos) that read “transfer federal land to western states.” And this has been a downplayed, though common, demand. This demand is the real reason these protests are going on, are being tolerated, will probably increase, and might even be successful. For this movement intends to wrestle away control of federal property and put it under the control of state and local governments. State and local governments that will basically privatize the land by handing it over to corporate interests at very profitable terms.

This isn’t conspiracy theory. This is common sense. If you think the federal government is corrupt (yes, it is), it’s downright saintly when compared to some state and county governments. The federal government is subject to laws passed by the congress and approved by presidents of both major parties. It is subject to treaties and agreements, both international and with indigenous tribes. These public lands are subject to decades’ worth of regulations and court orders that the federal government enforces. The current movement toward ‘local’ control is an attempt to peel away the layers of protection that these lands now have. It will be much easier for the wealthy and their corporations to buy off local politicians than it is for them to buy off, less approachable and more visible, federal officials.

Not that these protesters are in on the plan. Most of them actually do think it’s worth shooting someone to defend their right to ATV through Pueblo sites. And I really do think that angry, old white guys like Bundy figure that they deserve more than the rest of us, and are willing for other people to die to prove it. But while they actually compare themselves to the brave men and women who risked their lives and fortunes to found this country, they are acting as stooges for the rich and powerful interests that they obviously do not understand.

Let’s call their philosophy; Bundymentalism.

Funny thing is that if these little people with big guns get what they want, they won’t get what they want. Sure, they’ll be able to ride their ATVs over sacred trails and graze their cattle wherever they the grass grows. But so will everyone else. Soon, the best of that land will be so overused that it will be worthless to everyone—except to the energy industry.

In the beginning and in the end, this has nothing to do with cattle grazing or ATV rights. It has everything to do with mining, lumbering, fracking and drilling. your social media marketing partner
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