Recently I gave a presentation to radical environmentalists on a photo essay for this website that is currently under construction: Struggles for Justice: late 1980’s to late 90’s, that I plan on releasing sometime in the very near future this spring.  For the most part Struggles for Justice: late 1980’s to late 90’s consists of documentary photographs with a focus on ecological struggles and the struggle for the land.

Curiously one morning after I gave my presentation I came across this boat:

*Seldom's Escape DSCN2842I had an idea of what the boat’s name meant, but I wanted to be sure.  I approached the skipper with long white hair and queried him on the origins of that name.  He smiled and said,  “Sometimes people do ask me that, but not often.  Have you ever heard of the The Monkey Wrench Gang?”  I replied affirmatively.  The boat name’s origin stems from one of the main characters, Seldom Seen Smith, in Ed Abbey’s famous “fictional” book.  (Names have been changed to protect the innocent.)

Highly controversial anarchist and author Ed Abbey (1927 -1989) says of The Monkey Wrench Gang: “The book, though fictional in form, is strictly based on historical fact. Everything in it is real and actually happened.  And it all began just one year from today.”

I opened my paperback copy of the book trying a way to quickly explain what the book is about.  This is the first thing I saw when I opened it:

“Destroying eyesores is simply another way of creating beauty, and Edward Abbey’s dedicated crew are masters of this particular Renaissance. Of course what the Monkey Wrench Gang does is outrageous, un-American and inimical to the sacred concept of property, and I thoroughly condemn them.

If unchecked, they

may even start

dumping tea

in Boston harbor…”

Richard Bradford, author of Red Sky at Morning

Creating this blog post has inspired me to read the book again.  I think it will be my fourth time.  Also while on this trip I attended LaBelle, FL’s famous “Swamp Cabbage Festival.”  I even photographed the Armadillo races at the festival.  No joke. I’ll get some of those photos up one of these days. – Orin Langelle, 1 April 2014, Buffalo, NY

 

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