The progression from privatized protest to prison begins with unfocused anger, as a reaction to such things as pollution from fossil fuels and environmental catastrophes, brought on by consumerism and militarism. Following the lead of agent provocateurs like 350, some frustrated protestors–who see little change in public policy, as well as large betrayals by environmental organizations and institutions–turn to ineffective civil disobedience.
Frustrated by designer protests and vanity arrests, a few engage in more serious crimes like vandalism and sabotage. At the far end of the spectrum–those impatient with the pace of social change, consumer complacency, corporate corruption, and institutional deceit–are those who become enmeshed in underground movements that view themselves as violent revolutionaries. These revolutionaries–who sometimes commit arson and explosive attacks against symbols of the anti-environmental establishment, i.e. oil refineries and coal-fired electrical generating stations–almost always end up in prison.
Not only are their lives ruined by an official record as a felon, but they face doing time in solitary confinement, where they receive poor health care, and torturous conditions of isolation 24/7.
Encouraging the revolutionary mindset, oil industry-funded provocateurs like 350 recruit and nurture young people concerned about environmental degradation, then lead them down the path to prison, thus depriving a generation of sober, effective leadership–a devious but effective deployment of Netwar (networked psychological warfare) in the conflict between conservation and consumerism. When environmental activists allow themselves to be consumed by anger and other emotions–absent independent research-based intelligence and reflective analysis–they become prey for the provocateurs to exploit.
That, and the corresponding loss of civil liberties for society at large, is a tragedy.