Bidder 70

Ashley Davidson

Tim DeChristopher was a 27-year-old college student when he decided to sit in (and effectively disrupt) a highly controversial 2008 Utah BLM Oil and Gas lease auction, posing as a bidder and throwing off the proceedings. This auction was for oil drilling rights across thousands of acres of land, some of it considered fragile wilderness. In 2012, DeChristopher was found guilty of “disrupting a government auction” and is now serving his sentence of two years in a California prison.

In a phone interview with Rolling Stone’s Jeff Goodell, DeChristopher talks about the need for the kind of activism America saw in the 60’s if we want to see change in the socio-political climate sector:

“… we end up with a movement that knows a lot about the technical problem, but not about how change happens in America. When we study history, we see that social movements in American history have sacrificed a lot. Look at the Freedom Riders … I don’t know of anyone in the climate movement that has met that level of sacrifice, myself included.”

Is radical, non-violent activism the best way to cause change? What does this look like in our generation?


  1. ccceprosperity

    I think that in a lot of ways this sort of “radical, nonviolent” activism is going to be one of the best ways to cause change–the key is going to be getting a lot of people involved. Look at Occupy. Thousands of people decided that they were fed up with the way things were, and they staged a sort of “sit in” in a number of countries. While it wasn’t successful in bringing about tangible change in terms of policy, it at least made people think about income inequality in America. Of course, the question (as it always is) is how do you get more people involved? What will speak to people in a way that gets them mobilized?

    Kaleigh B

  2. David Cubine

    I respect what he did but I don’t see what kind of results are going to come out of this beyond maybe generating a little public interest. Which can be valuable, but I also think there are ways to generate interest without having to serve years in prison.

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