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The Back to the Presses! fund raiser was started to raise enough money to print four issues of our magazine in 2014. As a supporter commented on our last fund raising post, if everyone who visits the Earth First! Newswire in a given day made a one dollar donation—or even better, a $5-$10 donation—we would already have far exceeded our $30,000 goal. If you appreciate this site—our collection of environmental news and coverage of actions; our original stories, interviews and reviews; our prisoner pages and informant tracking tools; our manuals, including the new Wolf Hunt Sabotage Manual; our newsletters, which we distribute for free every three months; and of course, our print magazine, the Earth First! Journal—then please consider donating today.
Thanks to our recent Earth First! Film Fest, the still on-going Earth First! Journal Art Auction, and supporters and activists groups around the world, we have raised over $7,000 of our $30,000 goal. Each issue of the Journal costs $5,000-$8,000 to print and ship, so we’re still desperately in need of funds to reach our 4 issue goal for 2014.
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For the Wild,
The Earth First! Journal Collective…
SHAC – A Campaign That Made History (2013 – Italy)
I am happy to see that new generations of activists are discussing the successes and failures of the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty campaign with an eye towards applying those lesson to the ongoing struggle for animal liberation. This attractive booklet was originally released in Italy under the name “SHAC: ha fatto storia” and focuses on the legal repression, past and present, experienced by those working to close Huntingdon Life Sciences. The english translation is not perfect, but makes for a good overview of the FBI’s “Operation Trailmix” in the US and INTERPOL’s “Operation Achilles” in Europe.
The collective that made this booklet has a blog at shacmadehistory.noblogs.org. I would love to see them continue to dissect the international repression against SHAC and also support the victims of the same.
The Bunny Alliance will embark on the Gateway to Hell Tour this holiday travel season to demand that Delta Air Lines end its support of animal research and help stop the transport of animal to laboratories.
On December 26th, the founders of The Bunny Alliance will set out on a nationwide tour to hold Delta Air Lines accountable for its role in the vivisection industry. During this Gateway to Hell Tour, The Bunny Alliance will coordinate demonstrations at every Delta U.S. airport hub and at the Delta Headquarters in Atlanta, GA, as well as organize activist trainings for each tour stop.
The Bunny Alliance is targeting Delta Air Lines because it is in a strategic partnership with Air France and is its North America representative—and Air France is one of the last commercial airlines to continue the practice of shipping animals to labs. The campaign against Delta is to demand that they force Air France to place a permanent ban on the transportation of all animals being shipped to vivisection labs across the world.
The tour demonstrations will call on Delta Air Lines to stop Air France’s transport of animals to labs, garner media attention about the role of the airlines in vivisection, and educate holiday travelers about the animal cruelty that Delta supports. Additionally, the trainings at each tour stop will teach local activists about the campaign and how they can be involved. The trainings will also include “know your rights” and other activism tips, as well as information about how to act as a legal observer and deal with law enforcement at demonstrations to keep activists safe.
The Gateway to Hell Tour is being organized by the co-founders of The Bunny Alliance, Amanda Schemkes and Jordan Ezell. Amanda and Jordan have both been involved in the animal liberation movement for several years and have extensive experience with activism tours and anti-vivisection campaigns.
While I am not the biggest fan of “vegan straight edge” publications, XUltraMilitanceX manages to fit a few positive aspects into it’s otherwise formulaic, religiously worded format. Between the band interviews, sobriety cheerleading, and calls to “destroy Babylon,” there are some good articles on the history of the movement and a slightly deeper analysis of capitalism, the state, and human supremacy than I would expect from a zine named after an Earth Crisis song. Produced by a former anti-HLS prisoner, this was also one of the few XVX zines written by someone willing to actually act on the lyrics and liner notes that inspired them to begin with.
Issue #2 and #6 are very rare and took us a few years to find, but they complete our collection of this popular zine. The other issues can be found HERE.
SNARL! Handbook Of Leeds ALF (1985. Leeds, England)
One of the great things about punk music is also one of the worst things about it: anyone can do it. On the one hand this encourages kids to destroy the adulation of rockstars and to make music (as well as zines, clothes, art, etc) themselves. That accessibility has brought us the voices of people we never would have otherwise heard, which is wonderful. On the other hand, punk doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it came into being in a culture afflicted with bias and brutality, patriarchy, capitalism, and so on. Those elements are ingrained in many of the creators of punk and are, at times, reflected in the works they produce. Those messages are then carried on to those who consume that media.
It isn’t hard to make the leap from an analysis of punk to an analysis of leaderless resistance. Without a hierarchy or organized recruiting mechanism, the A.L.F. has often spread through the same means as punk rock- DIY media, the passion and anger of youth, and at times, sensationalized mainstream media stories. People have heard the call and picked and up the banner, acting on their own initiative to make change. The downside, of course, is that without a training component that goes beyond a few words in a zine about security culture, these newly active saboteurs aren’t always left with the skill set needed to safely or effectively undertake underground actions. They may end up making their own publications which repeat the mistakes of the ones they first read, and these will be passed on to the consumers of that media.
If I were 16 years old and living in Leeds in 1985, I would have loved SNARL. It speaks from a place of youthful (and righteous) rebelliousness, and although the tone can be a little dogmatic, nearly everything else about the “handbook” is just plain cool. I laughed out loud to see license plates, makes and models of undercover police vehicles listed, and was encouraged to see the inclusion of human liberation struggles. That said, the young folks who made this zine were reproducing some of the worst aspects of other publications from the era as far as security and theatrical militancy goes.
SNARL is an interesting product of it’s time, written and distributed by well meaning, hard-fighting folks who no doubt had the best interest of non-humans in their hearts. That said, I hope readers at the time were cautious in following the advice it contained, because much of it was outright dangerous. Looking at the prisoner listings from this period, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
A.L.F. On Trial – Capitalism Under Attack In The 1980′s (1987. England, city of publication unknown.)
On February 5th of 1987 ten British animal liberationists were sentenced to an aggregate of 38 years after a trial prosecutors had designed to “break the back of the ALF.” This case, popularly referred to as the Sheffield Trial, set precedents not only in the UK, but worldwide for the manner in which vegan militants would be tried by the state and media.
Although the Sheffield Trial failed in its goal to end underground direct action for non-humans, it did take a serious toll on the movement. Ronnie Lee was sentenced to 10 years, Roger Yates skipped bail and went on the run, and several others were taken out of the struggle for lengthy periods. The negative media blitz during the trial was among the first to create a popular association between the terms “animal rights” and “terrorist.” Worst of all, Sheffield was the first case in which the charge of “Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Damage” was upheld, essentially allowing radical media producers (In this case Ronnie Lee and the SG Newsletters) to be held responsible for the actions of others the authors had never met or otherwise interacted with- in fact, these other “conspirators” didn’t even have to be known to the authorities. All that needed to be shown was that a publication showed approval for an illegal act and that those acts then continued to occur. (Other courts disagreed with this novel interpretation of the law however, most notably the appeals court in the GANDALF trial.)
Parallels between this case and that of the SHAC 7 and others are clear, but little has been done to learn from the earlier trial. Luckily, an anarchist analysis of the court proceedings from 1987 has survived in the form of this brief, snarky pamphlet.
Only a few short years after reforming Support Animal Rights Prisoners, the contributors to the project (primarily Barry Horne) threw in the towel. Their raison d’être was being fulfilled by the ALF SG newsletters, and Barry felt as if the group wasn’t having the unifying, inspirational impact that he had hoped for. The final issue, mostly written by press officer Robin Webb, starts off light and positive, but ends with an angry missive from Horne accusing most activists of being mere radical t-shirt collectors rather than actual radicals. Across the span of decades and beyond even his own death, this stab at those unwilling to fight for liberation still hits its mark. It is a sad ending to an information packed publication, but not every issue of this last year of SARP is so intense. Tiny fragments of our history fall off these pages like gold dust- collect them together and you have a treasure. Barry might have died on hunger strike, but he did not leave us behind. His words and actions will continue to remind us where we came from, and for whom we fight. Rest in peace, comrade, and thank you for all you have given us…
Back in early June Portland, OR. was host to the amazing Resistance Ecology conference. Videos of the various panels are slowly being posted at the Burning Hearts Media TUMBLR, but we figured we would share a few of them here as well. First up is TALON co-founder Josh Harper and dirty south rabble rouser Scott Crow on the topic of anarchism and animal rights.
CLOSE HLS Newsletters (2006/2007. Location unknown)
The campaign to close Huntingdon Life Sciences has already received plenty of ink (pixels?) on this site, but these particular newsletters are interesting because they appeared after myself and several other organizers had been rounded up and sent to prison. A government that thought they had killed our struggle against HLS soon found out that there were some pockets of resistance left.
The tone of these newsletters continues along the same line as the SHAC newsletters: cocky, sensationalist, and at times haranguing. I wish they had learned from our errors in that regard, but other than that, I mostly just feel joy that they kept the fire burning and the abusers kept feeling the heat. Good stuff, and a valuable addition to the history of the anti-HLS movement.
Editors note: Since this site’s inception, the volunteers at TALON have felt that our purpose is not to catalog the past, but to inform the present. We do not exist as activist nostalgia, but to guide new generations by sharing information about the errors and victories of those who came before them. Our hope was always that modern campaigns would be built with these lessons, and that we could share their own errors and victories as a long term effort to refine our movement’s tactics and strategies.
The TALON Conspirator posts will highlight our favorite organizations and the facets of our shared history that inspire them. Our third post in this series is written by volunteers from Empty Cages Los Angeles.
Empty Cages Los Angeles is a small grassroots collective that works as part of the Gateway to Hell network. A group of anarchists formed ECLA with the specific goal of working on the Gateway to Hell campaign in LA in order to help put an end to the transportation of animals to vivisection laboratories. Right now we are putting all of our focus and energy into getting China Southern Airlines to put a permanent ban on primate shipments. China Southern is the only commercial airline that continues to ship primates from China into the United States and Europe to be tortured inside research labs such as UCLA in California, SNBL in Washington, OSHU in Oregon, Covance in Texas, HLS/LSR in New Jersey and the UK, and every major laboratory in the West.
The strategy of the Gateway to Hell campaign is to cut off the supply chain of animals to labs by getting transportation companies, such as airlines, to enact bans on the transportation of animals destined for research labs. The basic idea is simple: if the labs cannot get specific animals, they cannot do the experiments. This strategy has largely focused on commercial airlines because the majority of animals are shipped in the cargo holds on commercial flights, and this was a practice in which nearly every commercial airline participated until the launch of this campaign. Currently only two big players are left: China Southern Airlines and Air France/ KLM.
As an organization, ECLA uses focused, targeted campaigns and pressure tactics along with public outreach to convince companies to change their policies. This means that once we pick a target we put our focus and energy into constant pressure until we gain a real, meaningful victory.We do this through encouraging consumer boycotts; holding demonstrations at the airlines’ corporate offices, cargo offices, and at the airport; and organizing targeted global phone and email actions to shut down their communications. Some of the more risky and exciting actions we have done were office invasions of both El Al Airlines and China Southern Airlines. After only a few actions like this, we were successful in getting China Eastern Airlines to put a ban on primate shipments, which effectively put an end to primate imports from China into LA. To highlight the impact of this one victory, Los Angeles was the largest port of entry for primate shipments with 45% of all primates imported into the US coming through LAX.
We could not gain victories like this if it weren’t for the network of activists and organizations all around the world working together to pressure airlines and educate the public. We also wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for organizations such as The Talon Conspiracy and individuals like Josh Harper who work to preserve the history of the animal liberation movement. Through publications, workshops, and learning our own history, we are able to avoid the mistakes of the past and take the tactics that work and have held the test of time and continue to employ and modify them.
As an organization, our main focus is Animal Liberation; however, we all work on various other projects and liberation movements and have had solidarity demonstrations with the Tar Sands Blockade and with Greek Antifascists opposing the Golden Dawn. Our collective members work with various other projects and organizations, such as working with the IWW, running an anarchist distro, volunteering at a queer youth center, organizing benefits for political prisoners and legal funds, and working on antifascist and anarchist organizing. Our politics lie in feminism and anarchism, and we believe that we must strive for the total liberation of animals, the earth, and humans while maintaining focus and strategy.
Some of our members are working on a new project that aims to expand the reach of the Gateway to Hell campaign in the US and to provide more support, guidance, and information to others with the goal of creating a vast network of grassroots animal rights and environmental activists. So be on the lookout for The Bunny Alliance!
- * One of our collective members, Tyler Lang, and friend and supporter Kevin Olliff are currently being unjustly held in a rural Illinois jail. If you appreciate the work we are doing and want to donate anything, please donate to these political prisoners who are continuing to battle injustice from within their cell walls: http://supportkevinandtyler.com/
(To see the videos associated with this article, please visit the permalink by clicking HERE.)
TALON is a shadowy collective of archivists and media soldiers hellbent on advancing their ZINESTORM master plan! Soon our JACKAL minions will flood the streets, the old order will fall, and liberty will flourish for the entire biological community! TAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALOOOOOOOON!!!
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The Talon Conspiracy is an online archive preserving the history of protest movements for animal rights and environmentalism. Its owners, contributors, and designers are not responsible for actions taken by third parties which may be harmful or unlawful to the individuals or entities named in archived publications. This web site is provided for the purpose of historical research and analysis, and is not intended to incite, encourage, or condone any criminal action on the part of its readers. Finally, The Talon Conspiracy does not necessarily agree with any of the views expressed in the publications in our archive, but aims to provide a thorough collection of the history of eco direct action. All opinions expressed in our archives are those of their original authors only.