Saturday, April 25, 2009

Redwood Harvesting in the Bohemian Grove

An excellent article in the May issue of Vanity Fair: Bohemian Tragedy by Alex Shoumatoff. Shoumatoff snuck into the Grove to investigate the harvesting of Redwoods. There isn't that much money to be made in doing this, but there is great harm, so why continue? As Shoumatoff and others ask, why not charge membership fees and the like? Instead, arrogance combined with cold disregard rule. A man and ex-member named "Jock" has worked hard to get the Grove to see reason, yet nothing of the kind has happened. The money made from the harvesting of trees was used to "manage" the forest but the reality is very different:
But, according to Jock, the forest outside the main grove was in terrible shape. Hiking trails had been turned into logging roads, footbridges had been bulldozed and not repaired, and there was massive erosion in some places, some of it washing down into the Russian River, which once hosted the most abundant spawning runs of coho and king salmon and steelhead in California.

The Grove's arrogance, power and disregard has affected not just themselves in their inner circle, but the outside world as well; the peasants, us, the no accounts, yes, the measly proletariats. The issue of salmon is a huge one; affecting far more than the meal on our dinner plates; it affects the envirnoment as well as economy in many ways. The Grove calls all this harvesting "forest management" but there's far more to this than simple "fire preventation" tactics, as Shoumatoff adeptly reveals.

Bohemian Grove has long been a subject full of all the things an esoteric junkie loves: conspiracies, the occult, rituals, the power elite in costume by firelight, all the time taking themselves very seriously, even while seemingly winking and nodding towards the amusing nature of good old traditional fun . . . and there is a steady undercurrent in this mainstream presentation of this article. The arrogance and rape of nature underscores the darker conspiracy driven theories about the Bohemian Grove. After all, it's the ruling class indeed, the elite, the powerful, the global-industrial-military-entertainment complex reveling in their power, hidden from the rest of us, that control things.

Strange too are the juxtapositions of culture icons within the Grove; ex-members of The Grateful Dead are members of the Grove, as well as Fortean ironies, like the name Bohemian itself, for there is nothing "bohemian" about the Grove at all. As Shoumatoff writes:
In the Bohemian Club, “bohemian” means something completely different from the free-living, poverty-stricken artist that the word usually conjures. It means toeing the party line, United We Stand. Unbohemian means being disloyal, betraying the pact, the global-dominance group. It’s the worst thing a member can be called.

Thug tactics at work; Shoumatoff is rudely, and no doubt illegally, treated, but who's to care? And the audit that suddenly befalls one of the Redwood's protectors also teeters on the illegal. But again, who's to care, and who's going to change it?

This isn't about saving a few pretty trees, but about protecting ancient Redwoods that, if left alone, help the environment and help protect us from global warming, er, "climate changes." This refusal by the rulers of Grove is both disturbing and puzzling; as mentioned, why not charge more from members, if money is the issue? Is the continued and stubborn desecration of the Redwoods a sacrifice to maintain power? It seems so.

Image source: State Symbols USA

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