Archive for Animal Liberation Front

Critique of ‘Do Not Support the ALF’

Posted in Anarchism, Animal Liberation, Corporations, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Earth Liberation, Environment, Police State, Prisoner Support with tags , on November 16, 2012 by Ⓐb Irato

By Jake Conroy (SHAC 7), from Because We Must:

I don’t tweet or tumbl or any of that stuff, so I don’t really have a place to put this besides here. Nor can I contact websites like Animal Liberation Frontline or NAALPO due to my legal issues. But this ridiculous article about how we need to do away with ALF supporters has been heavy on my mind. So I thought I would share my thoughts. Feel free to share on your social media outlets if you feel inspired to:

While I share in the anonymous author’s desire to see more action and less talk, the arguments laid out in their article are tragically flawed, dangerous, and counterproductive (and somewhat laughable as it is being posted on blogs and all things social media, thus creating just the opposite affect of the original argument). I have spent awhile thinking about and being angered over the article and how best to respond. Ultimately, my own personal story, which I think is fairly commonplace for a lot of us, was the best rebuttal:

I think my story is pretty typical for anyone coming up in the mid 90′s. I moved to the Northwest in 1995 when I was 19. I quickly became vegan and interested in politics. I didn’t know any other activists or even vegans at the time. However, I found myself captivated by hardcore and punk music, and zines that espoused the lifestyle. I would go to places like Fallout Records and dig through the dusty box they had in the corner, full of old magazines. Here I would find old Sea Shepherd journals and issues of The Underground (the ALF Supporters Group newsletter). I would go to hardcore shows and pick up literature at tables. I spent hours in used bookstores digging through the history sections for books on radical activism. I would spend days pouring over these materials, reading and rereading them, and dreaming and scheming.

Eventually I would find my way into my local animal rights group. I worked with the Northwest Animal Rights Network in Seattle that was a mix of the greatest group of people. Our tight-knit core group of 10 or so had retired naval lawyers in their 70s down to punk rock teens with mohawks. But the one thing we all had in common was that we unabashedly supported the ALF. One of the first demonstrations I ever went to was an ALF support demo after a local Honey Bee Ham restaurant had its windows smashed in. Myself and a friend started passing out information on animal rights and animal liberation at the local hardcore shows. We would be doing tables upwards of 3-4 times a week. There wasn’t much in the way of ALF support merchandise at the time, so we screened pro-ALF shirts and hoodies we got from the thrift store and sold them to cover the costs of photocopies. While I certainly don’t attribute it entirely or even remotely to the two of us, there was definitely a genuine feeling of support for direct action and the ALF within the community.

Over the next several years I would redirect my focus from simple protests to civil disobedience, to direct action in the form of whale hunt sabs off the coast of Washington, to helping get the SHAC USA office off the ground and working on the anti-HLS campaign for 5 years. During that time I also worked on and helped start some of the biggest and most important direct action support magazines of those times. Those magazines would help build, among other things, community support for imprisoned activists around the world. That support would come in many forms, including leaflets and magazines, t shirts, videos, benefits, and support funds. Eventually myself and 5 friends would be found guilty in the SHAC 7 trial. I would be sentenced to 48 months in federal prison, partly because we chose to publicly share ideas. Controversial ideas, like supporting direct action and the ALF.

All of this started with zines I found in a box in the corner of a record store. It led to high-fives with friends, wearing black shirts and taking goofy pictures with disposable cameras at hardcore shows (that’s what we did before Instagram). I started out as a kid listening to music and reading propaganda. I never was a press officer, or a convicted (or not convicted) operative, nor am I disabled. But I think I’ve accomplished some really exciting things in my 17 years as an activist – from getting fur out of major retailers in Seattle, to using direct action to stop the killing of whales off the coast of Washington to organizing with SHAC USA, one of the most successful grassroots animal rights campaigns in our history. And I started out exactly as the kid you are saying needs to stop their “madness”.

Do you know who else started out the same way I did? Being inspired by listening to the music you want to end and reading the zines (now online, called blogs) you would like to do away with? ALF activists like Rod Coronado, Keith Mann, Peter Young. Andy Stepanian, Darius Fullmer. Do you know how ALL of those folks survived their prison experiences? By receiving books and letters and photos and donations by all those people who you suggest do nothing more than “work and watch movies with friends”.

The bottom line is, for over 40 years there has been ALF support work going on all over the world. (Please learn the history of that work at Conflict Gypsy) That work has created a community of people that might not be exactly what you want them to be, but ultimately will support those people you revere so much when they need it the most. Their simple presence will keep that community around, will foster that support when its needed, and keep the issues as relevant as possible. Of course we want more action, less words. But ultimately we need both, because that’s what will keep these ideologies going throughout the peaks and the troughs, the highs and the lows. To not show your support publicly for direct action is what may be the final blow to one of the most important elements of the animal rights movement.

Do Not Support the Animal Liberation Front

Posted in Animal Liberation, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Earth Liberation with tags on November 7, 2012 by Ⓐb Irato

From Animal Liberation Frontline:

Message to ALF supporters from “an anonymous liberator”.

This week I received an anonymous article, which I am posting below. It is signed “an anonymous liberator”. There is no way to verify the authenticity of the author as being a “liberator” or ever having carried out an Animal Liberation Front action. However there is a tenor to this article that is hard to fake.

This article calls out a particular form of imposter: those who exploit the risk and sacrifices of the ALF (and others) to increase their social status. Specifically, a subculture of aspiring scene celebrities and keyboard gangsters who build a social identity around ‘supporting’ the ALF.

This takes many forms, from ALF t-shirt-wearing by those who have never lifted a finger to help animals to “militant” blogs written by those who leave their computers only to go to restaurants or anarchist meetings.

The messages of this article are long overdue:

1) Those who use use the animal liberation movement to look cool need to start helping animals or be shown the door.

2) There is no such thing as “supporting the ALF”. The ALF doesn’t need “support” – it needs participation.

This is the article, in full:

DO NOT SUPPORT THE ANIMAL LIBERATION FRONT
by one anonymous liberator

The Animal Liberation Front is in desperate need of fewer supporters. It has far, far too many, and the madness has to stop somewhere.

The supporters are legion in their black t-shirts – tapping away at laptops, surfing crowds at shows, bussing tables at the local vegan eatery, distributing zines. Thousands of them share their support every day on Facebook and Tumblr. They post and re-post, like and comment. They are ever proliferating.

But, sadly, while all of this reaches new heights in the frenzy of the internet, the underground is largely at a standstill in the real world. ALF support, at one point a recruiting mechanism subservient to the action that it helped empower, has now become the main event. So, since it no longer serves its purpose, it is kindly but firmly requested that you abandon your support.

Take off your t-shirts – here is the wake up call. If you are able-bodied and you have built an entire social identity around ‘supporting’ sabotage and liberation, you are now required to go out and do those things. Your support will not be missed. You will no longer be able to hold on to the comfortable fiction that it ever mattered in the first place. And you will not be able to speak about your nighttime activities, so you will miss out on scene points.

But you will be able to relish accomplishments far more meaningful than anything you could ever do on Instagram or at a show. When you are old and your tattoos have faded, these memories will still be clear. You will be able to make a true and direct impact in the midst of a cold and vast system. And you will be able to look a creature in the eyes and save her life. For those who truly believe, it will be no sacrifice to change roles and take risks in order to keep alive this thing they hold so dear. It takes no specialized skill, only common sense and courage.

Perhaps, as a community, it is time for us to start changing our lifestyles through a new collective paradigm. If you are a self-identified ‘radical’ who spends their life going to work and watching movies with friends, the only thing currently separating you from the average American is ideas. This must no longer be acceptable.

We cannot explicitly speak about, and thus cannot socially reinforce, a culture of underground activity. However, we certainly can build a “culture of crime,” whereby we encourage not only disrespect (easy and functionally irrelevant) but disregard for the law. Jaywalk, shoplift, trespass, whatever – get acquainted with ignoring the rules as a way of life. Start in an area where you feel comfortable, get your friends doing it, and then put what you learn to use in the dead of night.

Accompany this with a culture of institutional privacy – encryption for casual conversation, proxy web surfing, releasing ourselves from the need to share every move we make on social media. While it is most important that individuals take action, these collective steps might be useful.

As for those who do not change, who continue to post their blogs or write their songs, they should not be given the respect or recognition that they seek. It is not respectable to align oneself in words with a phenomenon based on action. And when one gains social clout from doing so, it is parasitic, or at the very least cowardly. It contributes to an activist culture where such inaction is somehow a reasonable, even honorable, manner of behavior.
While others offer liberation and risk prison time, these individuals offer ‘support’ and risk too many high-fives. But those whose support is only as good as their own comfort can keep both.

Press officers, convicted operatives, and the disabled can continue to speak up for the ALF. If actions surge to an all-time high, but no one is sharing the news on Facebook, the animals won’t mind. They do not care about our theories, ideas, beliefs, or our drama. They are in desperate need of fewer supporters and more actors.

If your support for the Animal Liberation Front is genuine, it will end tonight.

New Earth Liberation Prisoners in Mexico

Posted in Animal Liberation, Corporations, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Environment, Police State, Prisoner Support, Revolution with tags , , , , , , on January 18, 2010 by Ⓐb Irato

From our friends at the Earth Liberation Prisoner Support Network:

ELP Information Bulletin (17th January 2010)

Dear friends,

As some ELP supporters may be aware, there have been some arrests in Mexico recently resulting in a number of people being accused of ELF activity. Below is an e-mail about the case.

ELP understands that e-mailed messages of support can be sent to the prisoners via cna.mex@gmail.com

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