Leslie James Pickering

Date(s) - Thursday 10/23/2014 - 10/24/2014
11:00 pm - 2:00 am

Leslie James Pickering family photo

“US Out of My Living Room: The Case of Leslie James Pickering, the Earth Liberation Front Press Office & Burning Books”

Co-sponsored by NATURE Lab, Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace, NYCLU-Capital Region Chapter, Veterans for Peace (Chapter 10) – Tom Paine Chapter and the Albany Social Justice Center.

A decade after being under heavy federal surveillance for exercising free speech in support of the underground Earth Liberation Front, Leslie James Pickering discovered that his associates are being questioned by the FBI, the US Post Office is copying his incoming mail, he was put on a secret list for maximum security screening at airports and a federal grand jury subpoena was issued for records on him, his family and his bookstore, Burning Books.  Leslie has launched an extensive legal and public campaign to resist this surveillance, which he believes is aimed to repress Burning Books and the surge of activism and awareness that the bookstore generates, as well as harass and intimidate the radical environmental movement.  This multimedia presentation will open eyes to methods used by the federal government to repress activists and freedom struggles, and how they can be resisted.

Leslie James Pickering was a founder and spokesperson for the North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office, serving as a press liaison for the underground Earth Liberation Front from 1997 through the summer of 2002. During this period the Press Office sustained two raids by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and local law enforcement agencies, responded to over a half dozen grand jury subpoenas, conducted public presentations, produced booklets, newspapers, magazines, and a video on the Earth Liberation Front and handled the public release of communiqués for dozens of the most vital Earth Liberation Front actions.

Through the Press Office, Leslie was the editor of Resistance, the Journal of the North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office, and many other independently produced materials regarding the Earth Liberation Front. Leslie has handled countless local, national and international media inquiries, resulting in articles in The New York Times, The Washington Times, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice and many more, conducted interviews with ABC, NBC, CNN, FOX, CBC, BBC, National Geographic TV and many others, and has given lectures at numerous colleges and universities and conferences. In 2011, Leslie was featured in the Academy Award-nominated If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front.

Leslie has published a number of articles and books, largely focusing on the politics and history of American underground freedom struggle. His titles include; The Evan Mecham Eco Terrorist International Conspiracy (EMETIC), Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism: The Collective Autobiography of the RNC 8, Mad Bomber Melville & The Earth Liberation Front: 1997-2002.

Leslie has a California High School Equivalency Diploma, a BA in Community Organizing and Journalism and a MA in History of American Social Justice Struggles and Journalism from Goddard College. Leslie lives in his hometown of Buffalo, NY, where he runs a friendly, local radical bookstore, Burning Books, with family members Theresa Baker-Pickering and Nate Buckley.

Read the article about him in the NY Times, 7/4/14, “U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement.”