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Violence, Archive, and Memory in the Making of the Redwood Imaginary
Unformatted Document Text:  transporting explosives. They were never charged because the prosecutor lacked any evidence, but the public sphere surged for months with charges and counter-charges of terrorism; a regional media climate in which the Forest Forever ballot initiative failed by one percent after being tagged as “supported by eco-terrorists” in the press and even on official ballot materials mailed to every voter household. Once again, violence outside the law made the law, not all of it, maybe not even most of it, but at the crucial moment in which the forest defense public was poised to take the legal power to name into its own hands, the weapon was detonated, the charge of terrorism rang out, and the forest defense lost ground, so to speak, to the dominant property culture. It was not just rational discourse, not just open dialog, but special violence against the body of a woman whose idea of organizing unions together with forest defenders provoked an attack that set the movement back. But the bombing and the successful completion of Redwood Summer helped foster a culture of resistance that seven years later succeeded in preserving Headwaters Grove. Nothing close to Forest Forever was achieved, but the preservation of Headwaters registered a significant, if partial, victory for the movement, and it would be difficult to argue that the symbolic power of Judi Bari’s body did not aid in constructing the wide base of support on which the Headwaters Forest Reserve has been erected. This is Headwaters Forest Preserve: Ten miles southeast of Eureka, surrounded by miles of cut over mountains and rivers degraded by landslides and silt from a century of clear-cuts. As of yet there is no public monument to Bari at Headwaters Forest Reserve, but the story of its making turns on her name and the violent blast that disfigured her body. In redwood country, conversations about Headwaters and the forest defense movement invariably lead back through the long running struggle to protect these remnant trees, 19 of 23

Authors: Widick, Richard.
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transporting explosives. They were never charged because the prosecutor lacked any evidence,
but the public sphere surged for months with charges and counter-charges of terrorism; a
regional media climate in which the Forest Forever ballot initiative failed by one percent after
being tagged as “supported by eco-terrorists” in the press and even on official ballot materials
mailed to every voter household.
Once again, violence outside the law made the law, not all of it, maybe not even most of
it, but at the crucial moment in which the forest defense public was poised to take the legal
power to name into its own hands, the weapon was detonated, the charge of terrorism rang out,
and the forest defense lost ground, so to speak, to the dominant property culture. It was not just
rational discourse, not just open dialog, but special violence against the body of a woman whose
idea of organizing unions together with forest defenders provoked an attack that set the
movement back.
But the bombing and the successful completion of Redwood Summer helped foster a
culture of resistance that seven years later succeeded in preserving Headwaters Grove. Nothing
close to Forest Forever was achieved, but the preservation of Headwaters registered a
significant, if partial, victory for the movement, and it would be difficult to argue that the
symbolic power of Judi Bari’s body did not aid in constructing the wide base of support on
which the Headwaters Forest Reserve has been erected.
This is Headwaters Forest Preserve: Ten miles southeast of Eureka, surrounded by miles
of cut over mountains and rivers degraded by landslides and silt from a century of clear-cuts. As
of yet there is no public monument to Bari at Headwaters Forest Reserve, but the story of its
making turns on her name and the violent blast that disfigured her body.
In redwood country, conversations about Headwaters and the forest defense
movement invariably lead back through the long running struggle to protect these remnant trees,
19 of 23


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