MORE HYPE and history re-writes from a fax advertising an album called “Who Bombed Judi Bari?” featuring “twenty-three selections of her greatest speeches, plus assorted newsclips and songs comprise this 72 minute treasure trove of cutting edge wisdom and wit, available on CD, vinyl and cassette.”
LAST YEAR about this time, in convenient marketing conjunction with Boogie Two at Carlotta, Darryl Cherney released an album of enviro songs by famous singers called “If A Tree Falls” — If A Tree Falls, Two Bucks Fall Into My Pocket might have been more like it.
THE JUDI BARI record hype comes with a nearly complete re-write of the truth about who she was, what she did and what she accomplished. “Judi didn’t preach from the ivory tower of intellectualism; she talked the language of the streets, the woods, and the working class from which she came.” In fact, Judi was an intellectual who became an anti-intellectual, succumbing to the New Age rituals, time capsule hippie-ism and the pseudo-mysticism of many of her constituents that she privately ridiculed. JB’s gifts as a speaker and writer inspired Redwood Summer but she wasn’t enough of an intellectual to get past the adulation of toadies, and not enough of an intellectual to make the movement grow.
JUDI Bari did not come from the working class, loosely defined here as people who work for wages. She was a daughter of securely middleclass people who had been communists in their youth. Nor was she a union organizer. Judi helped organize one wildcat strike among post office workers in opposition to the postal union. Most condescending of all to the memory of the old girl is this fatuous statement: “She introduced many to the notion (notion?) that it was the industry owners and not the workers who were responsible for forest destruction. She built bridges with (sic) the loggers and millworkers, helping injured sawmill workers start an IWW labor union at a nearby Georgia Pacific mill.” Even the dimmest flower child understands that loggers aren’t responsible for corporate policy. Judi did try to get past the snobbery infecting many of the more privileged environmentalists who’ve never had the wolf at the door. Her bridge-building from hippies in the hills to the 8-5 people was much over-rated because it’s impossible to “organize” people from outside the work place. The IWW organizing was farcical (as is the IWW these days) and conducted solely to get some grant money out of the present day romantics dominating the organization as they trade on the lives of much braver men and women. Judi wrote a fine account of an L-P mill worker — George Alexander — who was nearly killed at L-P’s Cloverdale mill when a piece of debris flew off the huge sawlog blade at his work site, almost decapitating him. Alexander, a young Hopland guy with a strong sense of himself, refused L-P’s attempts to take him on the road as a professional victim of environmental terrorism. L-P wound up fighting Alexander for injury benefits after they’d loudly put it falsely out everywhere that the debris that had nearly killed him was actually an Earth First! spike.
WHOEVER wrote the record promo hasn’t even taken the time to get Judi Bari’s best efforts down correctly. Judi Bari, like Cherney, had a genius for self-promotion. Her legacy, for the worshippers who think in terms of legacies, is mixed, to put it gently. A serious political person, after all, would have set up her foundation to carry on political struggle, but Judi Bari’s foundation collects money to benefit her daughters, both of them are well protected by the wealthy families of both their parents.