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Strange Bedfellows

ANTIFA, Black Lives Matter and environmental nonprofits mixed together are not a plus

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It’s been roughly five years since I began my journey with the cattlemen of Stevens and Ferry counties, which are tucked away in the furthest northeast corner of Washington. I say roughly five years because sometimes it seems like it’s been a lifetime fighting a nightmare that recurs incessantly, with no apparent justification.

Chance Gowan

Chance Gowan pictured fishing with his daughter in 2000.

Unrelenting attacks by so-called environmental groups which, like ANTIFA and BLM [Black Lives Matter, NOT the Bureau of Land Management], pretend to be representing causes of the downtrodden are nothing new. They’ve just upped their game. No longer satisfied with lies and smear tactics they’ve unleashed self-centered, uncaring thugs with sinister hidden agendas covertly intended to result in miscreant impacts on the innocent for fun, power, and profit.

Yes, fun! One has only to look at news clips depicting rioters in our cities as they hoot and holler and jump for joy while they burn another man’s hopes and dreams to the ground and indiscriminately murder innocent people without remorse. It isn’t just ideology. It isn’t just power. It’s fun and games to many. It’s hate for others!

While groups like ANTIFA and BLM oppress our cities, burn buildings, loot businesses, and shoot innocent five-year-old children while they play in their front yards— all in the name of social justice—“environmental” groups like Wildearth Guardians, Advocates for the West, and Western Watersheds (i.e., Jon Marvel’s anti-use hate group) relentlessly attack hardworking farm and ranch families across this great nation of ours.

Today, money-hungry “environmental” organizations have attacked public lands grazing with a …

The reasons for these attacks are represented as noble: protect the lives and futures of those who have suffered misfortune and discrimination; intercede in the fate of wildlife, like innocent, caring, fun-loving wolf families whose unchecked populations are skyrocketing, causing unimaginable damage to the western landscape. They’ll do whatever it takes to further their cause, even if it requires lying, gross misrepresentation of facts, or unleashing brutal violence on the guiltless. Power and money are their rewards.

As I reported in the Spring 2020 issue of RANGE magazine, there seems to be nothing that will quell these groups’ thirst for malicious, hateful anarchy. When wolf populations in Washington skyrocketed and wolf densities shot above target levels, these environmental groups and their followers did not rejoice. Instead, they rioted, spewed hate mail, threatened to burn out public meetings and cause great bodily harm to those who’d done the most to protect the wolves.

What is happening to our great country? Why are the masses standing idly by while hate-filled groups plunder our cities and kill innocent members of our society or fabricate endless schemes and false accusations aimed at ending our ability to generate power, grow crops that feed the world, and produce livestock that provide healthy sources of protein, clothing, shoes and medicines which benefit all of mankind?

The answers are not simple. I’ve no doubt that Black Lives Matter started as a noble endeavor to highlight and hopefully end the plights faced by those of color living in inner cities. Like BLM, environmental groups were spawned when clear and present cataclysms erupted before our eyes: rivers were catching fire from industrial pollutants and unchecked logging was endangering fish populations and severely damaging wildlife habitat. The intents of these groups were pure and based in reality.

But somewhere along the line they lost their way. Their moral compass became skewed, and then the founding motivation was hijacked all together—all to suit the insidious and often greedy, power-hungry desires of others. Why did this happen? Or, more importantly, how did this happen?

The simple answer is this: A few individuals who were hungry for power and/or profits recognized the opportunity and covertly leveraged these groups’ status for their own use and benefit. Read: power and money.

The deeper answer, of course, is complacent citizens who, by and large, live comfortable lives in the suburbs or big cities, reside in cozy homes, and lazily and willingly take 30 second snippets from the nightly news or from endless Internet “sources” as gospel truth. They hear a one-sided story, it tugs at their heartstrings, and they’re content to take it as fact, and often they’ll blindly support that “cause” by sending money…sometimes lots of it.

Rare is the individual or group which bothers to dig deeper, ferret out the truth and respond with well-researched knowledge of what is in fact actually true and real. It’s much easier to listen to a “talking head” and think, “Isn’t that terrible?” or “Aren’t they doing wonderful things?” and accept it as fact.

The problem with today’s environmental movement boils down to the “original sins” of power and greed! It’s very easy for them to gin-up a cause. For example, for “Save the Polar Bears,” Photoshop a fraudulent picture of a polar bear stranded on a tiny floating piece of ice, use it as an example of global warming and the imminent loss of these magnificent bears, and tell people, “Their world can be saved, just send money; give us the power to force others to comply.” The Center for Biological Diversity actually did this and profited wildly.

But wait, you say. They’re nonprofits, they can’t make money off of their endeavors, so their accusations must be true and pure. The truth is, nonprofit simply means that a corporation can’t show a profit—it cannot distribute profits to shareholders. Corporations can and do pay themselves huge salaries, operate out of luxurious, well-lit offices, amass sumptuous benefits, ride around in high-dollar company SUV’s and command power and compliance when they walk into a meeting or send a threatening letter. The corporation isn’t showing a profit, but those involved, especially those nearer the top of these organizations, are profiting wildly while forcing others to acquiesce to their demands! Does the word fascism ring a bell?

Which all brings me to one of the points of this article: Right now, in eastern Washington, Wildearth Guardians, Western Watersheds and other well-funded, richly endowed environmental non-profits are making an end-run in an attempt to further one of their ultimate desires, which is to ban essentially all uses of our national forests, including camping in most areas.

They’ve chosen to focus this tier of their attack on family ranches, in particular a sixth-generation ranch called the Diamond M. And, as is their usual tactic, they’ve chosen a cute, cuddly creature as their poster child. They’ve chosen wolves and use “The Jungle Book” as an example of the nurturing nature of wolves. Then they swear that ranching will be causal to wolves imminent eradication.

Now, most people with a lick of sense know that wolves are dangerous creatures. They run in packs. It’s a well-documented fact that they’ve killed tens of thousands of people throughout history. They attack their prey in packs and eat it alive in a horrifying display of blood lust. “The Jungle Book” is only a fairy tale. They know that, but to the uninformed urban and suburban masses they’ve perpetrated an entirely different image of wolves—all for power and profit.

The fact that wolves are now coming out the ears of eastern Washingtonians is of no concern to them. The fact that wolf populations have extirpated most of the big game and created what Colville tribal biologists now call a “game desert” is something they chose to hide. The fact that wolves are now focusing most of their efforts on domestic livestock is unimportant. Creating an image that fits their financially profitable paradigm and brings in profits is what matters.

Throughout this article I’ve been constantly reminded of the true meaning of ANTIFA, which is anti-fascist. According to Webster, a fascist exalts race above individuals; it stands for a centralized, autocratic government headed by dictatorial leaders. ANTIFA and its ilk—as they burn and plunder our cities, murder citizens, and decry the need for any sort of law enforcement—have become the poster children of a real-life fascist organization, as they dictate subjugation of our country. “Do what we say, act as we direct, or else....”

Is this what you want our government and our country to become? The choice is yours and by virtue of the Constitution of this great nation, you are given the opportunity to choose in November of this year. Do you want our country to be controlled by those who are, by definition, fascists, who utilize autocratic, violent and deceitful means to empower dictatorial leaders and impose severe economic or socially regimented suppression of the opposition?

What’s happening to the McIrvins and the Hedricks is but a glimpse of what’s to come. Once the Cortezes and Kamala Harrises of the world take over and implement their socialist agenda (we all know Joe Biden will be nothing but a puppet), it will be too late. Our transportation system and our industrial and agricultural superstructures, the envy of the world, will be systematically dismantled.

Only the “in crowd” of the coming socialist movement will have power and money. The fascist regime they purport to abhor, the fascist movement that is ANTIFA will be the ruling faction, forever changing not only the United States of America, but the world as well.

Don’t be “sheeple.” Don’t form your opinions on 30-second sound bites. Discover the true nature of what is happening, then get out and vote. Save this great nation of ours and save the world! Things really are that dire.  

Chance Gowan spent more than 30 years working principally in research for state and federal resource agencies. He is a consulting biologist specializing in aquatic biology and range ecology. He can be reached at cowboyway@