I will admit to using a poor choice of words by suggesting that one, "get a job." Perhaps I can phrase that idea in a more relevant fashion. Numerous residents of the area surrounding the Gulf have directly acted in pursuit of restoring the physical environment on which their livelihoods depend. They have made a considerable effort towards extracting spilled oil from their immediate areas. Many have worked in coordination with individuals or organizations that have experience or supplies to contribute to the cause; I believe some people tend to refer to that as solidarity. This supports my position that normal channels do not lack value simply due to their popularization. Cooperating with those who have experience and knowledge that might apply to a situation instead of approaching the scene with a much more limited perspective seems quite reasonable to me.
I find your definition of direct action incomplete, even ill-suited to the term. Does the term "direct" imply an illicit nature or simply one of expedience and self-reliance? Why objectify an "illegal" course of action over a "legal" one? How does such thinking seem any more favorable than its inverse? Furthermore, you requested only a means of "response." Even with your comment, you have failed to clearly state a desired end. I have a hard time understanding how one could directly act without intention, to which I consider a goal quite indispensable. If you truly aim to "utterly destroy the oil companies," as you stated, then you have created for yourself a rather unapproachable task. The oil companies have the implicit backing of every individual that drives or depends on non-localized food and other products, as evidenced by the existence of a market. The protection they receive from military and police forces serves as further evidence of the degree of this support. You could do all the damage you wanted to an oil rig and in no way reduce the demand for energy that society does not yet have the resources to meet in another way. If we assert that the occasional environmental accident occurs as an externality of big oil, we need to understand that big oil resulted as an externality of expansion, and that we support it through
Perhaps actions intended to re-localize our lifestyles have less appeal than more destructive alternatives because they at first seem less subversive. Have you ever been involved in the development of a collectively "owned" and operated space? Collectivism often gets undermined when individuals choose to use property law to throw their weight around in environments that had previously seemed egalitarian; enforced property law alone can present serious obstacles to creating, within "normal" channels, socio-economic environments that allow for individuals to lead significantly different lifestyles. Lobbying by big ag will result in legislation that will make it harder and harder to grow food legally, even for not-for-profit purposes, over the coming years. At least within the United States, building code does not allow for the construction of living spaces from ecologically sound materials unless purchased through industry-regulated channels. Of course, the relevant permits carry hefty price tags of their own to match the cost of such materials. The list goes on. If we refuse to rethink the environments we establish around ourselves, or simply give in to the systems presented to us, then we cannot blame big oil for enabling our own negligence.